Friday, June 29, 2007

Ashlyn--Hi ho, it's off to work I go

One more day of training and I’ll be an official Headlights girl. The last two weeks have gone by quickly, which is good, because I’m ready to make some serious tip money. Speaking of tips, I had no idea how much a Headlight girl could make in an evening when I signed up for this gig; I just needed a job. I’ve had to “shadow” several of the girls these past two weeks, which means I followed them around and helped out where I could, and on nights when there was a Red sox game playing—there is a big screen TV in every corner of the restaurant-- the girls made almost two hundred a night. Not bad for schlepping chicken wings and beer.

A typical night as a Headlights girl involves a lot of flirting, taking food orders, running food to the guests, running drinks from the bar, hula-hoop contests, dancing the hokey-pokey, and limbo contests. All the contests and dancing are designed to get the girls bouncing and gyrating, giving a show to the guys.

I have been able to shadow my friend Heather several times. She’s been a huge help to me and has made me feel more comfortable.

“The secret to being a good Headlights girl is to think of the job like you are playing a role in a play: you’re an all American girl who oozes sexiness. You flirt, you smile and make conservation. At the end of the meal you draw a smiley face on their bill and sign it. If you’re a real clever girl you remember something you talked about with them and you jot a note on their bill as well.”

She pulled out a bill from her pouch and pointed to a group of guys in the corner. They had obviously come to Headlights after their softball game as they were still in their team’s uniform. On the bill, under a smiley face and extremely girly signature, Heather had written: Good luck! Come back and let me know if you guys do make it into the playoffs!

“I think it creates a connection between you and the guest. When I first started doing it I was amazed by how much better my tips got. Of course, you my not need to do much for tips, you got a lot going for you as it is.”

“What do you mean?” I wasn’t following her thinking.

She pointed at my boobs. “Girls with bigger boobs always make better tips.”

In the last nine months of my new life, the attention my body has generated has been fun for me. So far I haven’t had to deal with much negative attention. There have been a few times when guys have gotten a little pushy, demanding I give them my number or dance with them--and when I pushed back I got called a “cock tease”—but those times are few and far between.

But I’m getting a whole new education working at Headlights. I now know why women refer to men as pigs. Don’t misunderstand, most of the guys who come into Headlights are cool, and the flirting is light and fun—but there is another type of guy the restaurant seems to attract…the creepy guy.

I’ve been at this job for two weeks—and remember, I’m not a waitress yet, I shadow waitresses—and I’ve run across 4 truly creepy guys. I guess I average two a week, it will be interesting to see if that remains true.

Creepy guys are usually in their late thirties to late forties. They generally sit alone. They sometimes employ the comb over and are usually forty to fifty pounds overweight. Somehow creepy guys always have money—they have lots of cash and like to wave it around--I’m guessing they are seeing what they can attract with it.

It’s not those qualities that make them creepy. A lot of guys could be described like. I was kind of one of those guys once: I was 30 pounds overweight, often sat alone, and while I didn’t wave my money around, my expensive laptop and cell phone I carried with me constantly, did let people know I was doing alright financially. No, it’s those qualities and an intangible. There is something ‘dark’ about these men—it makes me wonder if there is something to ‘female intuition’.

Headlights is a sexually charged kind of place; when you put the girls in tight little outfits you expect the guys to check the girls out. The creepy guy takes it a bit farther; he doesn’t just check the girls out, he stares. Heather called it the “1000 yard stare”.

I was shadowing Heather when I met my first truly creepy guy. When he saw two headlight girls walk up to the table he commented “Oh, how nice. A twosome.”

One of the “techniques” they us in Headlights girl school is that if there are empty seats at a table, and feel that the guests would be comfortable with it, to sit down at that table. It gives the feeling like you are joining them for dinner. Heather and I did this at the creepy guys table—we hadn’t for sure labeled him a creepy guy yet—and it kind of pushed him over the edge into full creepiness. His eyes never once left my boobs. I’ve dealt with elevator eyes before—even Matt my boyfriend does it—but this was different. His stare was so intense, it was…well, creepy. Heather takes his order and we move to get up from the table; my hand was resting on the table and he lays his hand on top of mine, stopping me.

“Do you have to go?” He’s talking to me, blatantly staring at my cleavage.
I give him the patented Headlights smile—eye contact was impossible. “I’ll be right back with your drink order.” I tell him cheerfully.

A food order was screwed up at another of Heather’s tables, so she ran into the kitchen to fix it. I ended up bringing creepy guy’s drink order to him by myself.

As I set his beer on the table he finally looked me in the eyes. “I’ll give you $500 to come back to my place and watch movies with me. I’ll even let you pick the movies.”

He was serious. Scary serious.

I think I took a step back away from him in surprise. “Um, sorry. I don’t think my boyfriend would like that.”

“Oh? What if you didn’t have a boyfriend? What if something happened to him? What if he mysteriously died?”

I was shocked. Did this total stranger just threaten to harm Matt? I started to say something, but stopped--part of the job of a Headlights girl is dealing with the creeps. I was just expecting something more like some guy grabbing my ass—not physical threats from some scary guy.

I ended up just turning and walking away.

Two days later I ran into my next creep. The creep was sitting alone, balding, and his belly hung over his belt. When the girl I was shadowing—I think her name was Melody--asked him for his ID, he leaned back in his chair and grabbed his crotch. “You girls want to see my ID? I’ll show it to you.” His fingers grabbed his zipper, posed to unzip his pants.

“Sir, I can’t bring you your beer without your ID.”

“Okay, you asked for it.” He zips open his fly, reaches in and pulls out his cock.

Melody gasps in surprise. I step away and grab Jorge. Jorge is Rick’s (the manager) younger brother, and a behemoth of a man. Jorge title is the assistant manager—but what he really does is act as the bouncer. I explained to Jorge the situation, he very politely thanked me for telling him, and he marched over to the creep. I didn’t hear what Jorge said to the guy, but the guy quickly zipped up his pants and got up to leave. Jorge waved Melody and I over.

“This very rude gentleman has something he wants to say to you.” Jorge’s voice had a slight edge, and he gave the creep a slight push in the back.

“Um, yeah. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m leaving, and I won’t be back.”

The creep turned to leave and Jorge stopped him. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

“Oh yeah.” He reaches into his pocket, pulls out his wallet, and pulls out two 50 dollar bills. He hands one to each of us. “Here’s your tip.”

At this point Jorge grabs the back of the creep’s collar and leads him away and out the front door. Jorge was back a few moments later.

“I am so sorry that happened. Ashlyn, please don’t think things like that happen all the time. We run a—I mean, this is a good—he won’t be back.” He was flustered, and his face turned red. “I’m needed in the kitchen.” And he quickly walked away.

Melody turned to me. “I’ve never seen Jorge upset like that.” She gives me a knowing smile. “I think he has a crush on you.”

Great. Just what I need.


Ashlyn

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ashlyn--There's something about the outfit

I waited a few days before I told Matt—the boyfriend—about my new job at Headlights. Our “relationship” isn’t far enough along that I would consider not working there if he had a problem with it, but it is far enough along that I cared what he thought of me. I was scheduled to begin my training as a Headlight’s girl a week ago last Thursday (I know, I'm always running behind in this blog), so I called Matt up the day before and made sure he was going to be home that night.

One of the many, many rules about being a Headlights girl is that we are not supposed to be seen wearing the outfit outside of the restaurant. Some girls change at the restaurant, and some girls wear sweats over the outfit to get to work. I chose the later, and wore my outfit under my green sweats to get to Matt’s place. I decided showing him was far better than telling him. I admit it, it’s a little manipulative—I’m hoping that after he sees me in the outfit he won’t care why I’m wearing it.

I get at his place a little after 8pm and I catch him asleep on the couch. ‘Law and order’ was playing on the tv, so I grab a remote, turn down the sound, and lean down and kiss him.

“Hey sleeping beauty, wake up. I need to talk to you.” I whisper to him.

He groans and stretches out his arms—then wraps them around me, pulling me to him.

Eyes closed, he gives me one of his grins. “I was having this amazing dream, and you were in it.”

“Oh? What was I doing?”

His grin expands into a full blown smile. “Giving me my birthday present.”

I give him a smirk back. “Keep on dreaming.”

This will take a little explanation. Matt and I have been dating long enough that we’ve actually had a few fights—nothing major, just a few bumps on the road. A few of the things we’ve had disagreements over:

1. Matt is a bit of a slob—worse, when I point out he’s a slob by mentioning all the beer bottles littering the living room; he gets defensive and says I am too uptight. I about killed him the first time he did that.

2. Matt is constantly late to everything. If we make plans to do something, he always shows up twenty minutes late.

3. This is the one that gets us back to Matt’s “giving me my birthday present’ statement. The third thing we fight about is oral sex. ‘Fight’ might be too strong word—we’ve had a few slightly heated discussions. Matt has been very upfront with me; he wants oral sex to be a part of our sexual repertoire, and I…I have a difficult time thinking about having a man’s dick in my mouth. “I thought you were the sexually adventurous type.” He says to me. He of course, has no idea that in the big picture I was already being extremely adventurous by having sex with him in the first place. A year ago I would never have dreamt that I was regularly having sex with a man—and enjoying it.

When I was first contemplating having sex for the first time as a woman, I actually had the thought ‘Well, on the upside, you can have sex and have absolutely no performance anxiety.’ No pressure about being premature, no worries about whether or not my partner is enjoying himself—just lay back and enjoy it, right? Wrong.

Sure, if I orgasm early now it no longer a bad thing—in fact, if I orgasm early now it’s time for high fives because it’s probably going to be a multi-orgasm night, and that tends to make everyone happy.

No, as a woman I have new and different anxieties to deal with—like whether or not I should give my boyfriend a blowjob. Matt and I have talked the subject to death and at one point he had worn me down. I went from ‘no’ to ‘not right now’. Later we bring it up again and this time he tries to corner me with a ‘when’—frustrated, yet wanting him to be happy, I threw out ‘maybe on your birthday’. Big mistake on my part--Matt has chosen to ignore the ‘maybe’ part of the statement, and his birthday is a couple of weeks away. I know this because he keeps reminding me.

Sorry, I’ve gotten way off subject; blowjobs are something I’m feeling a lot of angst about. I can’t decide if I’m making a big deal out of it or not—I mean, before I had sex as a woman I didn’t really want to do that either; now I look forward to making love to Matt. Maybe oral sex would be the same way; then again, most of the women I dated as Jake wouldn’t consider oral sex, so maybe I’m not crazy.

Back to me and Matt on the couch, me in my sweats covering up my outfit.

“Don’t open your eyes.” I say to him.

Of course the first thing he does is open his eyes. “What’s going on?” He asks.

I put a hand over his eyes. “I have a surprise for you. Close your eyes.” I feel his eyelashes brush the inside of my hand. “I’m going to get up—no peeking!”

I get off the couch and slip off the green sweats, run my fingers through my hair as well as give it a shake of my head, and strike a sexy pose wearing only my Headlight’s uniform. “Okay…you can open your eyes.”

The expression on Matt’s face was priceless. “Oh my god, baby! You look hot!”

I walk back over to the couch as Matt sits up. “I took a job at Headlight’s.” I tell him.

“Wow.” He says, still surprised. “That’s great. You are working again.”

It was exactly what I wanted to hear. “You don’t have a problem with me working there?”

Matt seemed to mull it over for a split second. “Nah. I’m cool with it if you are cool with it.”

Hearing this made me feel so much better. I sat down on his lap, wrapped my arms around his neck, and kissed him.

Matt didn’t need any more encouragement—his hands traveled over my pantyhose covered legs and up to white tank top. He starts to gently knead my breast through the top. It feels good, so I sigh and tell him so. We get back to kissing for a few minutes until with his hands move to my sides and he picks me up, setting me on my feet—he is so strong he picked me up like I was nothing. He gets off the couch as well and standing there he pulls down my brightly colored shorts and lets them fall to my feet--I kick off the tennis shoes and socks and then do the same to the shorts. I start to go to remove the white tank top, but he stops me.

“Leave it on. I like it.” He says.

I close the distance between us and reach for his belt, unbuckling it and removing it. He was wearing button-fly jeans and I loosen the pants allowing me to reach in and massage his dick with my hand. I may have issues with the idea of sticking it in my mouth, but I had no problem touching it. We kiss like that, my hand massaging his dick, his hands massaging my pantyhose covered ass. He starts the slide the hose down, stops when he gets it down to my thighs, and brings a hand around and starts rubbing the area around my clitoris. I felt so good I laughed with pleasure.

“Let’s sit back down so I can get these pantyhose off.”

Matt quickly looses his clothes and returns to the couch. I sit back down on his lap, my back resting against his chest, and carefully remove the pantyhose. Matt reaches around me—one hand is up underneath the tank top teasing a nipple, the other is between my legs his fingers doing amazing things. He entered me while we in that position, taking me from behind—I was being bombarded by sensations from everywhere. As he thrust in and out of me he continued to tease me with his fingertips. I reached behind myself, laying my hands on him—I just felt a need to touch.

“Harder.” I gasp. “Faster. Fuck! Just more! Oh baby, that feels so good.”

His speed increases and I arch my back, the back of my head resting against his chest.

He got both hand on my boobs now, cradling them—he runs his thumbs over my nipples. It makes my shiver.

I feel the now familiar feeling building up inside me. “I’m close.” I tell him.

“Good. Because I’m close too.” He grunts.

I start rocking back and forth, adding to our rhythm—and that all it takes. I beat him to the finish line by like a second or two. I shake with pleasure, laugh out loud, and collapse back into Matt’s arms.
We gather our selves for a moment until I break the silence. “So, no problems with me working at Headlights?”

“Baby, if I can get you to wear the outfit for me from time to time, you’ll get no complaints from me.”

It was just what I wanted to hear.

Ashlyn

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Arthur: Paying the rent

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that people have a lot of misconceptions about writers. This is, I imagine, true about every profession, but most of the time we only really notice it about our own, because people ask ridiculous questions. Sometimes we realize that we ourselves hold these mistaken ideas when circumstances force us to move into a new industry.

Moving into a new life is something else again. When dropped into both Elizabeth's and Penelope's lives, I wound up with their jobs, and not only were there things I didn't know, but I wasn't going to be cut any slack for not knowing - Liz and Nell knew their jobs, so I was expected to. Some of what I've learned about being a television on-air personality has been kind of shocking, although it really shouldn't be.

Most of what the average person knows about sports and television is what we pick up by what we hear about high-profile things. We hear about deals being made for millions of dollars, we see movie credits which stretch on forever, and the people we can name in the industries are the most successful. I admit, when I first entered Penelope's life, I expected something a little cushier than I was getting.

Just being on television doesn't mean you make a lot of money. I won't get into figures, but what Nell makes for doing a twelve-game season of lacrosse play-by-play is about an order of magnitude less than what I was picturing in my head. It is not, I suppose, bad money for the few hours of work a week it would be for the real Penelope Lincoln - basically a day of work on Saturday or Sunday (maybe an extra day if it's an away game), a couple hours on Friday for a pre-show meeting, and some spare time during the week to do research. It would be a good second job.

Of course, I've been doing it as if it were my first job, and if I do that much longer, I'm going to have to start dipping into Penelope's savings to pay the rent, which I'm far from comfortable with, since I have yet to hear from her. I know from her note that she might be hard to contact for a while, so I can't ask much in the way of advice.

Fortunately, my first instinct for what to do in this situation is essentially correct - I went to see my agent. It had been a couple weeks since I'd talked to Drew, and it was worth the time just to touch base with him. Unlike in my life of a year ago, it was no trouble to get into see him: Having people think you're a girlfriend as well as a client means you get waved right in.

Drew was glad to see me, asking how my adjustment was going. I told him that what was throwing me most was that I had apparently inherited some sort of insanely healthy metabolism - I seem to get by fine on five hours of sleep most nights, and I just don't get tired easily. So, what could he do about helping me fill it?

He apologized to me for that. In some respects, he says, being an agent is like being a lawyer only easier: when he's on the phone or sitting across a table from someone now, they both want basically the same thing - he company wants to pay his client for his or her services; it's just a matter of finding middle ground. In most of his previous cases, he and the guy on the other side want opposite things. What is new for him is calling around to solicit work.

I get that, and remind him that he can shop me around as a writer, too. In fact, I've got an idea kicking around in my head about a murder mystery set in the world of sports broadcasting ("wow, you and your partner really don't get along, huh?"). I know it's hard to break into fiction, but a former pro athlete and current broadcaster might stand out from the slush pile. It could be a series!

"And when Nell takes her life back...?"

"I've worked as a ghost writer before."

"Well, I'll see what I can do, and if there's anything else that might be available for you. Speaking of available, what are you up to for lunch? On me and deductible as a business expense."

"Sounds good to me."

-Arthur

Monday, June 18, 2007

Trip / Kat - Dream job, saved

I was relieved today when Frank... the new Trip, called me on his way home. He was able to take an extended leave-of-absence from my job without any problems. He said that although the boss didn't seem too happy about the short notice, he seemed quite pleased that I wasn't leaving them altogether.

I was almost certain, when Frank and I formulated that plan, that I was going to lose, forever, the best job I've ever had - and that bridges would be burned in the process. This was the only way to keep my job and reputation intact - We had to try. If things hadn't worked out like they did, I would have been devastated. It's very comforting to know that I'll still have a good job to return to.

Frank already started helping out around the farm here today. It will be interesting to see how his years of experience interact with my father's - and how they'll resolve any differences of opinion. Frank did pass the first hurdle - with flying colors. After dad's initial reaction to seeing "his son" leave a good job to farm, Frank's explanation to dad of needing some time to clear his head and think about the future, seemed to work. I guess that's about as true a statement as there will ever be... whether in reference to Frank, the "Trip" people see, or me.

Well, now that my future's no-longer in immediate danger, I need to find a job for my new self. Kat doesn't seem too concerned about what type of job I get... or for how long, for that matter. When I asked her if she needed me to get her registered for fall-term classes, she told me not to worry about it. Seems that she hasn't yet decided what to do about finishing college. I don't think I've ever known her to be as indecisive as she seems now. Maybe she's just confused... Lord knows, I still am.

But I guess I'll have to worry about that tomorrow.

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Trip / Kat - Things can always be worse

I guess I shouldn't have complained last Thursday - as they say, "Things can always be worse."

Last Saturday I needed some tools from one of the top shelves in the garage. Since I'm not as tall as I used to be, I needed something to stand on to get them down. I probably should have used a step-stool instead of the bucket that I did. But I didn't, the bucket tipped, and falling to the floor I went.

I could complain, but I think I got off pretty lucky. A sprained ankle and wrist... and I put my back out... but no broken bones. I couldn't move much on Sunday or Monday, it was too painful. So, I was stuck in bed for the most-part, until yesterday. A couple trips to the chiropractor and some pain-killers and I'm moving pretty well again. Well enough to sit here at the desk long enough to check email and type this out.

I guess the timing couldn't have been better, it gave the new Trip and I plenty of time to discus our former lives. I needed to know more about the man who is taking my place, and he needed to know more about the role he is now playing. I learned that he and his wife were taking what would probably be their last vacation; that his wife was dying from cancer and didn't have long to live.

As we talked, I could tell that he was having problems with the thoughts of passing his, and especially his wife's, fate on to others. The chance that some young man or woman with a bright future ahead of them could suddenly be facing a bleak and short future. I certainly could not have picked a more deserving soul to wear my skin, than this man... this great man, whose eerily familiar eyes reflected the tempestuous moral dilemma he now faced. I felt saddened... my own problems so insignificant in comparison.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Arthur: Learning

My entries aren't just going to be a running log of my experiences doing play-by-play for the Dragons, but this weekend was new in that it was my first away game. My first game was at home; my second would be in Chicago. Not only had I never been there before, but I'm not used to this kind of travel.

I'd done some business travel back when I was myself, but it was seldom this regimented - if I could, I'd allow myself some time to see the sights or otherwise spend some quality time. I was a freelancer, after all, and you can write anywhere.

This weekend, I barely noticed I was in Chicago. We did a lot of the groundwork at the Friday planning meeting at home, making sure we were up to speed on Chicago's players and a roster move that the Dragons had made. I was a bit of a target; Mike all but said I was unprofessional and unqualified. He's probably right about the second, although I don't know if I'd go with the first. I've been spending practically all my waking hours over the past two weeks trying to improve my skills as a broadcaster, and I don't think I ever coasted. George was pretty diplomatic in handling it, pointing out that Mike hadn't been particularly sharp in his first game and he hadn't had a lingering illness to deal with, but also being pretty pointed about how that had to be behind me.

Saturday was a blur; there was the airport, hours spent flying to Chicago (and lost from flying East), and hotel check-in. By the time I'd hung my garment bag in the closet, it was already six-thirty. I had a quick meal at the hotel restaurant and then retired back to my room, watching a couple of Nell's old games on a portable DVD player before heading for bed.

Sunday I was up early to check out and catch a train out to Lancaster, where the team was actually playing. Even though the game started a one o'clock local time, we had to be there hours earlier, doing last minute prep, doing our makeup (if we were covering baseball or football, there would probably be hair and makeup people on staff; I was on my own), shooting coach and player interviews to insert into the broadcast later, talking with the person doing the local sports report back home.

I did better on the actual play-by-play this week. I'm helped a little by the fact that men's and women's lacrosse are somewhat different, so Mike is the one supplying most of the actual analysis. I tried to look at it like I was trying to keep someone updated over the phone without saying something that is too obvious to anyone looking at the screen and giving Mike a chance to chime in. Then, at the end of the game, I ran down to the locker room to do a couple stand-up interviews. I drove George and the cameraman nuts because I tended to position myself wrong, and wound up facing the player while the camera got a good shot of my back.

Then it was back upstairs to pack my things up and head back to the airport. Mike gave me the cold shoulder, and I half suspect he moved my stuff so that I wouldn't be finished in time to share a cab with him. I don't know why he was in such a rush; it's not as though he was going to get on an earlier flight and avoid me.

I hope like hell that Nell never slept with him. I only mixed business and pleasure like that once or twice in my old life, so it doesn't seem like something I need to be karmically punished for over and over again.

If she did, though, it seems to just be part of the problem. George caught up with me in the airport bar and sat down beside me for a talk.

"That was better," he said. "You still seem to be having a little trouble shaking the rust off, though."

"What can I say? I had one of those vacations that you need another one to recover from."

He laughed and took a sip of his beer. "Been too long since I've had one of those. Anyway, you were pretty solid this week--" I snorted. "What?"

"'Solid' means 'unpraiseworthy', 'average', or 'undistinguished'. It's what you say about forgettable work." Nearly every polite rejection letter or review that stopped short of actual praise that I'd ever received included the word.

"See, that's why I like working with people like you. It's not about being 'good enough', but being the best. It can make you a pain in the neck, but usually pays off. Anyway, any faults with your game-calling are made up for by my magnificent direction." He barely contained a goofy grin as he said it, so we waited a couple seconds and burst out laughing.

"No, seriously, you're OK, and you'll get better. It would be great if you and Mike could work on your chemistry, though. Both games have been fairly close, but chemistry is what keeps people tuned in to a blowout."

"I'll try. It's just--" I stopped; it seemed wildly inappropriate for me to complain or try to gossip about Mike.

George knew what I was thinking, though. "Don't worry about Mike. He and Al hit it off right away when we first teamed them a couple years ago, so he kind of resents you even though Al's the one that took the radio job in L.A. He'll get over it."

"Ah." Good to know.

"Besides, the guys above me like you. Our ratings for the Stealth jumped fifteen percent this winter, you know, and I don't think there was a sudden influx of new fans of the sport. Maybe Mike just doesn't like that a woman in the booth gets more ink just for being a woman than he gets."

"Glad I can help."

"We do thank you for it." He just sort of looked at me for a couple seconds, then did the too-quick grab for his beer meant to camouflage that a guy thinks a girl is attractive but doesn't think he should say it but which only highlights it. It sloshed a little, and I felt the need to take a quick drink too, so he didn't look or feel silly (of course, that probably just signaled that I'd noticed and made him feel worse).

"Anyway, we're getting good feedback about you. They might want you on-camera more."

"That's... great." I suppose that's what Nell has been working toward. I guess it's good to know she was getting there.

They call our flight, and we separate. Then it was back to San Francisco, and another week of trying to catch up before another game.

-Art

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Ashlyn--Welcome to Headlights!

Liz is back

Last Thursday, without any fanfare, the original Liz returned to Boston. I didn’t find out until the following day—and then it was by email. Liz’s email was short and sweet:

Thank you for what you and Arthur have done for me these past months. I am back in my life, back with Ray, and I am sorting everything out. I want to see you and talk to you—but not now. I want to spend a little time not thinking about what I went through…and seeing you would only remind me.

Liz

Something about Liz’s email pissed me off. Maybe it’s because I felt so left out from what was going on—After Art being in Liz’s life for so long, I felt I got to know her and Ray. When I really stop and think about it—maybe I just miss Art, and somehow I blame Liz for not being Art. I know, not rational. Maybe being a redhead all this time is finally getting to me. ;)


Smile, and make eye contact

I used to be a work-a-holic. In my previous life, I liked my job as a computer animator and visual effects guy. Sure, I worked insane hours and my personal life was pretty non-existent—but I felt a lot of pride in what I did for a living. I hope to do that kind of work again someday, once I get out from under some of my money woes and I can buy a computer good enough to do that kind of work.

I used to define myself by my work. Whenever I would meet someone new, and they would ask me about myself, I would always tell them about what I did for a living—it was the most interesting thing about me.

Which is why interviewing for a job at Headlights was so difficult for me. I once did work that was creative, technically challenging and geeky in a cool sort of way. All the job at Headlights really requires is that my boobs look good in the tank top. I feel I’ve let myself down.
Before my interview on Friday I called my new friend Heather. She’s worked some of the radio station promotion gigs with me, she works at Headlights, and she’s putting a good word in for me with Rick the manager. She was nice enough to meet me for coffee and let me pick her brain a little.

We decided to meet at the Starbucks inside the CambridgeSide Mall. I have been avoiding Starbucks lately; it’s a deceptively expensive habit to have--$4 for a grande chai adds up quickly if you go many times a week. I decided to let myself live a little since this was a ‘business’ meeting, and I was just beginning to savor my chai when Heather walked in. Heather, like all the girls who work the radio promotion gigs with me, is hot. She has beautiful chestnut eyes and hair, and a curvy and fit body. She gives me a hug like she’s known me all my life; Heather is just friendly that way.

“I’m so excited you are going to interview!” She says enthusiastically.

I knew from previous Starbucks excursions that Heather was also a chai person, and I had gotten her one as well, she gratefully accepted it.

“Thanks for putting in a good word for me. I’m a little nervous about the interview…I was hoping to get some pointers.” I say.

“There’s nothing to be nervous about. Being a Headlights girl is all about being fun and flirty. So smile a lot and make lots of eye contact. Once you get the job—I just know you will—they’ll put you through two weeks of training where they push “smile and make eye contact” constantly. If you can show you can do that in the interview you’ll be ahead of the game. “

“Cool. I can do that.” I say.

“Don’t worry about dressing up to much for the interview, but do spend time on your hair and make-up. All they really care about is how you look in the outfit, and they’ll ask you to try one on to see how you look in it. They will say you don’t have to try it on in the interview process, but if you want the job you’ll do it. Oh, take a pair of the whitest running shoes you have with you. They have spare uniforms, but not spare trainers. “

I took out a piece of paper and wrote down a reminder to bring running shoes to the interview. Heather laughed at me.

“I can’t believe your taking notes. You need to relax, being a Headlights girl is easy. If you are going to be that serious about this, then add ‘suntan’ pantyhose and white socks to your list. You’ll look like the real thing. “ She took a sip of her chai. “Putting on the outfit for the first time is a little nerve-wracking. I remember. Just fight your way through it, be confident, and try to have a good time with it. Oh! And one last thing—go out and buy a hula-hoop and practice using it.”

“You’re kidding.” I give her an incredulous look.

“I’m not. During my interview they had me put on the outfit and do the hula-hoop thing. Rick told me if I was able to do two hoops at the same time the job was mine on the spot. Unfortunately, I hadn’t played with a hula-hoop since I was a kid, so I couldn’t quite pull it off.”

Hula-hoops. What am I getting myself into?

Two days later I’m standing in front of my local Headlights restaurant. My interview was for 10 am, and I was early. The doors were locked, so I knocked and within moments a giant muscular man with bronze skin opened the door. He had short, slicked back black hair and brown eyes that reminded me of Heathers.

“Rick?” I ask.

He shook his head no and stuck out his hand for a handshake. “I’m Jorge. You must be Ashlyn.”

I nodded and gave him a big smile—I thought I might as well get into ‘game face’.

“Rick’s in his office.” He held the door open to me, inviting me inside. As I entered the building I looked up at Jorge—he was so big it was intimidating, I felt like a child standing next to an adult. I followed him through the main dining room toward a hallway that led to the kitchen. The dining room was empty with the exception of the bar area--we pass a Headlights girl who was already there behind the bar, stocking up for day. She gave a friendly wave.

“That’s Jo; she’s one of the bartenders.” Jorge says motioning to the woman stocking the bar. “She makes this drink called a Cherry Vodka Limeade. It’s kind of a girly drink, but it is soooo good.”

We made through the kitchen we had a few people preparing for the lunch crowd. The kitchen was all metal shelves, appliances, and cookware—everything looked spotless.

“You should see this place right at lunch—it’s crazy busy in here then.” Jorge says.
Finally we make it to Rick’s office—I knew that to be the case because the door had a sign saying just that: Rick’s Office.

Rick turned out be a good looking guy in his late thirties. He looked a bit like Jorge—except Rick was more ‘normal’ sized than Jorge.

“Are you guys related?” I asked as Jorge walked away.

Rick smiled and shook his head yes. “Jorge is my little brother.”

“Little?”

“How about younger?”

I made sure to laugh at his joke. He comes over and carefully shakes my hand and motions to a chair across from his desk. Rick’s desk is a mess, and he digs around on it for a moment before he discovers the papers he is look for.

“Ah, here we go. Ashlyn Shelly.” He stops and gives me a once over. “Heather has said good things about you.”

The interview was pretty standard for the first ten to fifteen minutes; Heather had suggested I come clean about my experiences at my last job—even the fact that I was fired. Rick seemed to take the news in stride. “I believe in fresh starts here.” He tells me.

Eventually the conservation takes a more Headlights tone. Rick takes out a form and hands it to me to read. It was an ‘acknowledgement form’. I basically said that the job requires I wear the Headlights girl uniform, I was required to interact and entertain the guests, and that the Headlights concept was based on ‘Female sex appeal’.

“Are you comfortable signing that?” Rick asked.

Smiling, and making eye contact I say “Absolutely.” He hands me a pen and I sign.

Rick smiles back at me and clasps his hands together, pleased. “Excellent. How do you feel about trying the uniform on?”

I ended up changing in the women’s restroom. The uniform consisted of a white tank top with an image of a smiling car with the word ‘Headlights’ written in prominent letters displayed on the front, some brightly colored shorts, and a tan ticket pouch. I had brought a backpack with me with the items I needed to finish out the uniform and make me authentic looking: the pantyhose, socks and shoes. I got out of my clothes and into the outfit. Within minutes I was looking back into the mirror at a Headlights girl--my boobs did look good in the tank top, the scoop neck revealed a ton of cleavage. My first thought was “wow, I look hot” followed quickly by “wow, I look like a total idiot”.

I touched up my makeup and hair, adjust my boobs, take a deep breath, and stepped out into the restaurant. I had to walk through the dining room to get back to Rick’s office. It was close to eleven now, and people were starting to show up. I passed several guys on my way back—they checked me out, I gave them a big smile. A Headlights girl saw me and gave me a thumbs up. “Looking good!” she called out to me.

I step back into Rick’s office and he gives me a big smile. “You look great!”
He then proceeds to look me over closely—very closely. It kind of made me tense.

“Sorry. I have to check for tattoos. Tattoos are not allowed to show outside of the uniform.”

“I don’t have any.”

“Perfect. I have one more thing I would like you to do.” We walked back out to the dining room and Rick grabs one of the many hula-hoops leaning on one wall. I knew what was coming. I take the hoop and in moments had it spinning around myself.

“If you can do two, you’ve got the job.” He tells me.

I was so prepared, I had practiced for hours. Without stopping, I stick my hand out. “Hand me a hoop.”

Rick hands me a hoop, and several other Headlights girls have gathered to watch. They began to clap in encouragement. I give the second hoop a spin and while it was awkward at first, I got it under control and got both gyrating around me.

Everyone clapped.

“This is Ashlyn; she’s our new Headlights girl.” Rick announces to the group.

“Way to go Ashlyn!”

I never stopped with the hoops. I decided if I was going to do this job, I was going to do it on my own terms—that meant I was going to be a professional, I’m going to be the best Headlights girl I could be. “I’m not done yet. Hand me another hoop.” Like I said, I had practiced for hours.
One of the girls handed me a third hoop. A chant of “ASHLYN” started up. I think even the customers were into it at this point. Just like the second hoop, I struggled with it a first—I very nearly lost it, but was able to pull it off. A cheer goes up.

I eventually lose control of the hoops and they fall. Everyone is laughing, clapping. I pick the hoops up and turn to Rick. “So, if I couldn’t do the double hoops, would I have still gotten the job?”

He grins at me. “I decided to hire you before you even got into the outfit. The hula-hoop thing is just an initiation we do here. Heather was pissed she wasn’t going to be here to see you do it. What until she hears you did three!” He pats me on the back. “Welcome to Headlights!”

Heather was right, Headlights is going to be a fun place to work—interesting—but fun.

--Ashlyn

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Trip / Kat - So much for enjoying things

Periods suck!

My insides feel all knotted-up... not painful or anything, but still... uncomfortable.

There's not as much blood as I thought there would be.

I found more girl questions to ask, and I thought about calling Jadyn, but... this stuff seemed too... personal. So, I called Kat again - asked her a few pointed questions about... well... you know, about things I didn't know about... personal things... girl things.

I don't know what it was, maybe something I heard in her tone - anyhow, I lit into her... I mean, I was really letting her have it. I can't even remember what my rants were all about. Then I started crying. I lost it at that point, and just hung up the phone.

I cried myself to sleep. I haven't done that since I was a kid. The nap seemed to work though, I was in a much better state of mind when I woke... though, I wasn't sure what I was going to say to Kat - I couldn't believe that I had behaved the way I did to her. I've never gone-off on anyone like that for something that, now, seems so insignificant.

I guess I needn't have worried about Kat, she texted me with the answer before I even knew the question. Chalk my outburst up to my new hormonal roller-coaster.

Still, I called Kat back and apologized to her. She told me that she hadn't been expecting such intensity in my symptoms, but she understands that I wasn't myself. I groaned at the pun, but appreciated the effort to lighten things up a bit. After some discussion, we both attribute the intensity to my being thrown into womanhood, instead of growing into it... as I've had no time to get used to the way my new body works. Kat tells me it'll take some time, but that it'll be better once I get used to it. I'm not sure that I want to get used to it.

Before Kat hung-up, she told me that the period stuff will get worse before it gets better, but it's not that bad - she also gave me a heads-up on what to expect... as well as more advice on how to deal with it.

Ugh! Now I have a headache too. I am not enjoying this... at all.

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Arthur: Work & Sports

A year ago, when being a writer meant getting paid for it rather than just putting things down to try to remain sane, there were a couple questions and comments I got a lot. The first, of course, was where I got ideas. Folks automatically assume that anyone who gives writer as their profession writes fiction, which is far from the case - the vast majority of the work to be had as a writer is work-for-hire, and most of that is for magazines or newspapers, or ghost-writing biographies and how-to books. Heck, if you want to get paid for writing fiction, you're mostly looking at writing somebody else's ideas - more ghost-writing, comics, film and television (if you can get that, which is really difficult), licensed work, mystery and romance series... Only a scant few people can afford to do things on spec or get advances.

That ties in with the other thing people say, they they couldn't be a writer because they get so intimidated staring at the blank page (screen today). Most of the time, putting down words is, while not easy, the result of preparation and research.

Research is how I've spent most of the past week. Nell's steadiest employment is doing play-by-play once a week for the San Francisco Cannons, a Major League Lacrosse (MLL) team. Depending on how you looked at it, Nell or I was already behind the eight ball for missing their opener in Denver, although R.J. had sent word to his office that Nell had fallen ill from bad clams on her trip to Maine, and thus would be unable to make it to the opener in Denver. That left me about a week to learn everything I could about the game of lacrosse in general, the San Francisco Dragons and Long Island Lizards in particular, and let's not forget the mechanics of working on television.

My priorities last week were finding out as much as I could about the game and players as I could; I figured that Nell's job as an announcer was similar to mine as a writer - communicating information to an audience. I sucked up as much information as I could, made sure I had media guides handy, and mostly listened at the planning meeting on Friday. That's where I met George Wilder, who produces and directs Dragons broadcasts for CSN. He asked if I was feeling better and asked if I'd gotten the DVD of the first game that they'd messengered to the condo. I had, but had sort of set it aside while trying to sort through the month's worth of mail waiting at Nell's place. After listening to George, Nell's broadcast partner Mike, and other people in the room talk about what went well and what didn't, I realized that as little as I knew about the game, I knew even less about the business of doing live television sports.

After leaving the meeting, I called Drew and stopped by the office he'd inherited from R.J. His assistant gave me a pleasant but knowing look - I guess that Nell and R.J. were dating wasn't much of a secret - and let me in to see Drew.

"She's cute," I said.

"Yeah, I guess. Looks a little too much like Daphne for my taste, though - it freaks me out."

I hadn't really noticed, and made a note to get a look at her on the way out. I told Drew that I needed any video he had of Nell's on-camera and announcing work to study. She probably has some in the condo, but I just wanted to make sure. He called the assistant and had her make some copies from the library.

That gave us a little time to talk. He and new-Drew are still trying to work out a schedule to get back to the Inn and get things set right, at least for him. Complicating matters are that he hasn't heard from the original R.J. yet, and they'll want to try and make that work.

"So... Gotten laid yet."

"Oh yeah." A huge smile came across Drew's new face. "It's almost painful, how intense it feels down there. And having a woman in your arms... You just can't beat it."

I sighed; I knew what he meant. As much as a woman's orgasm feels wonderful, and sex in general is pretty good... It's not the same. In a certain way, I have a hard time thinking of it as sex; I've just got too much memory of sex being a different experience to really recognize the opposite half as the same thing. And now I don't know if I'll ever feel that again.

He saw where my mind was going, and asked if I'd seen Jeremy yet. I shook my head no - I'd made a few calls, but I've been spending so much time trying not to screw up Nell's job that I haven't really had time to track him down. Drew said that was a great attitude, but I should get on it soon; wait too long and Jeremy might start to think I was okay with it.

That's when Drew's assistant knocked on the door, and gave me a pile of DVDs. I felt a little daunted looking at them. Drew asked me if I wanted to get a drink or a bite to eat, and I just pointed at the pile and said I had a lot of TV to watch that night.

It didn't help. I was awful at calling the game.

If it had been baseball or football, I might have been able to do all right. I know the A's and Raiders, and I know the games fairly well. Both have a flow to them that I'm familiar with. Lacrosse is crazy - each team has ten people on the field at once, running back and forth, checking each other with their sticks. There is a lot of scoring - the Dragons lost this game 12-14 - and the game moves fast. I fell behind the action a lot, missed a couple of names, and I'm fairly certain everybody watching (which, thankfully I guess, isn't that many people) must have thought Nell was an idiot.

Mike certainly felt that way. He wanted to know what the heck was going on, since Nell had called games for the San Jose Stealth (the closest NLL indoor lacrosse team) during the winter. I couldn't rightly say, and I think I got worse as I tried harder. I at least did all right with the post-game interviews; I was able to jot a few notes down during the game and be ready when I met the players just outside the locker room.

The camera scared me a bit at first, but I think I got over it. During the game, I just tried to think of myself as talking on the phone; afterward, I just reminded myself that I had nothing to worry about, since the audience wasn't seeing the real me, so to speak. I don't know how successful I was.

Not very, I think. I've been watching the tape of that game over and over again, comparing it to the one of Mike alone in Denver and Nell's NLL work. I've got a lot to learn if I'm going to keep this up.

-Art

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Trip / Kat - Be careful what you wish for

After reading Ashlyn's post the other day, I called Kat. Although I've always kind-of wondered what it would be like to be a girl... I'm nowhere near ready enough for the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth! I needed to know what Kat wanted me to do, other than abstinence, to avoid experiencing either - after all, this really isn't my body... my life, they're hers.

When I found out that Kat was on the pill, I found myself both relieved, and a bit saddened... It's hard for me to think of Kat being sexually active; she's like a little sister to me. My sadness lifted when I learned that she wasn't... or rather hadn't, been having sex. She told me her being on the pill was purely precautionary... She didn't want to have sex yet, it's just that she might not have a choice in the matter. (Revisiting those thoughts made me shudder.) I told Kat that I'd do my best to make sure her reputation was still intact when she got her body back, and she laughed. That surprised me, as I just can't see her being okay with my 'trying sex as a girl' while wearing her body, but I'm probably just being overly-analytic.

I got my next 'girl lesson' when Kat told me that I was going to have to wait before starting on the pill. I have to have a period before I can start her next regimen. Periods... something I'm both looking forward to, and dreading at the same time. Kat told me that I'd have to wait until the Sunday after to start taking them. When I asked her when I should expect my first period, she told me that she wasn't sure - but that she would have been expecting it to happen any day now.

Anyhow...

I guess the others aren't quite as comfortable with changing gender as I am. I feel for them, I really do. I've been dreaming of something like this for as long as I can remember... since I was a kid. Now that I've got my dream-come-true, I find it a little bittersweet. I finally get to find out what it's like to be a girl, but I'm in my cousin's body - so everything I do or think about just feels so wrong. Not only that, but I've been tossed into someone else's life, already in-progress... with no-clue how to live it. Okay, so I have more of a clue than everyone else. Still, I really don't know much about Kat's life or her friends. I thought I knew a great deal about the life of this girl I've become... but there are so many small details that elude me. It gets overwhelming.

For me, the most troubling part of this drastic change in my life is the seemingly divine nature of it. I've wanted to be a girl for most of my life, but lately - I just wanted a new life... though not quite this literally. I've felt lost for the past couple of years, I just couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with my life, what I wanted my life to be. So I say a prayer to a God I haven't talked to in years. I asked Him for guidance, a purpose, a path... a different perspective. Maybe this was His answer... or perhaps a test of some sort. I can't say - though it would make sense in my case, it really doesn't explain everyone else's transformations.

I guess there's no point in worrying about it. As the saying goes, "We just have to make do with what life throws at us." I imagine if I spend a bit more time learning and getting used to this new life, things won't feel so out-of-place as they do now. Besides, once the 'new me' contacts me, I can start looking into trying to get my life back... not that being Kat is so bad, but I'm sure she wants her life back too.

I don't know why she wouldn't. I mean, I may be a little shorter, 5 inches, I think; I can't lift or carry as much as I used to; and my arms won't wrap around boxes as far as they used to... but I've got more energy, more stamina, more flexibility, and I feel like I could jump-around all day... I feel so bouncy! I get a real kick out of the way this body moves - I love it! I'm certainly going to try to enjoy it while I can.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ashlyn--A visit from Ray

At 2pm yesterday afternoon the rain was coming down hard. I’m used to Texas rain storms, so this wasn’t a big deal for me. After you’ve been through a tornado, everything else pales in comparison. I was home and called Rick—he’s the manager of the local Headlight’s restaurant. I had just spent the last of my money paying rent and very soon I was going to have to talk to the radio station to see if I could get an advance on my next gig to pay my IRS payment. Being broke—worse than broke when you consider I’m going to have to beg or borrow money to pay the IRS—has made me decide to swallow my pride and see if Headlight’s needs another girl.
Rick was nice and came off as very professional on the phone. It made me feel better. We set up an interview for Friday. As I was saying goodbye, someone started pounding on the front door.

Ray—Liz’s Ray—has left about 20 voicemails on my phone in the last two weeks. At first I ignored them—I mean, what can I say to the guy? “Sorry, your girlfriend’s body is in limbo right now, as soon as it shows up I’m sure she will call.” Even if I was to tell him the truth he’d never believe it anyway—the curse of the Inn wouldn’t let him believe it.

So instead of returning any of his calls, I’ve emailed him. I don’t know if that helped or hurt the situation. I was very clear in my email: I don’t know where Liz is. Liz has not contacted me. From our last conversation before she left, I expect her home very soon.

That last sentence got me in lots of trouble. Ray has hounded me to know what we talk about. I don’t know what the real Liz is going to do about Ray when she finally does show up, so I am uncomfortable making up a conversation for Ray’s benefit. I decided to stop replying to Ray’s email--that was probably a mistake as well.

Which brings me back to the pounding at the door.

I looked out the window and saw Ray standing on our doorstep—no umbrella—and soaked to the skin. I was a little surprised to see him this time of the day, he should be at work. I thought about pretending to not be home, but changed my mind. Ray is as much a victim of the Inn as the rest of us; my heart goes out to the man.

I open the door—Ray stands there in the rain, his face a combination of determination and desperation.

“Ash, if you know anything about Liz, you have to tell me.”

He stood there, glaring at me, and I motion him inside. “Come in. Come out of the rain.”

I got a couple of towels from the bath and made coffee. He seemed a little more agreeable from the gesture. He put a towel on the couch and sat down. I sat across from him.

“Ray. I honestly don’t know where Liz is.” It was a half-truth. Liz as he knows her doesn’t exist right now. Hopefully the Inn will do its thing soon, and Liz will be back in her proper body.

“But you have to know something.” He was insistent.

“Nothing that’s going to help you, I swear.”

“Please, I’m grasping at straws here.”

I decided to take a small chance, and hope there isn’t a problem with Liz getting her form back.

“Look Ray, Liz and I had a conversation before she left. She didn’t tell me where she was going—only how long she thought she would be gone. She told me some things in confidence. If she’s not back by this weekend, I’ll tell you what we talked about. You just need to be a little more patient.”

“You really think she will be back soon?”

“I do.”

He leaned back on the couch, visibly deflated. “We went through a real rough patch just recently. I thought all of that was behind us.”

I lean forward and place my hand on top of his. “I know. Things will be better soon.”

“When she admitted the affair—“His voice gave out a little, his eyes were glossy, holding back tears. “When she admitted the affair it hurt like hell. But I appreciated her honesty—and it helped clear up some things between us. I thought things were better between us.”

I move to the couch and give him a hug.

“I miss her so much.” He says.

Please, whatever powers that be that control the Inn, do your thing soon, Ray is really suffering.

--Ashlyn

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Paul/Deniyce - What Happened to Me

I never made it to Boston. Obviously.
I never got to meet up with Art or Ashlyn, and never got theirassistance in getting my body and identity back. Now, from reading this blog, somebody else is me (and somebody else is Ivy). It doesn't look like Art was able to get any information about who those people are (or rather used to be).
Great. Another mystery for me to solve.
Unfortunately, due to my circumstances (which I will explain below) , I cannot contact “myself” at the law firm, or any law firm for that matter, or I will put myself in serious
danger. I am not as panicky as I was on my e-mail to Art, but no lessdesperate. I did not get a response to my e-mail to Art (although Isee that Ashlyn posted it), but she, or somebody else, added me as acontributor to the blog. I can see that many victims of the TradingPost Inn post their portion of the blog there, so, I will discontinuethe blog that I started, and will post to this blog.
Deniyce Miles. Deniyce Alicia Miles, to be exact (no comments aboutthe initials D.A.M., please. `Nisi to her/my friends and family.It has been quite an adjustment. It turns out the body is 21 yearsold (so I am almost half of my chronological age), is married, and has a 2 ½ year old son. I am "home" now in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Maybe I had better pick up where I left off (in the e-mail). Please excuse me if I move quickly through some things, but I am typing this at an internet café. I was able to persuade "my" husband, Andre, to take "my" son to get a haircut, and that I would okay sitting in this internet café'. My time is limited until I get a real computerat "home." This guy is being extremely nice to me (for reasons which I have not figured out, and which appear to be way over the topeven for somebody getting their missing wife back). I am going to ask him to buy me a laptop, with one of those biometric things thatread finger prints, to block anybody from accessing it.
I need to use this blog to find the real Deniyce, and, if possible, communicate with person in my body. Anyway, as I said in the e-mail, I ditched the rental car and laptopin the parking lot of a mall on the outskirts of Boston. I wascareful to remove all fingerprints of this body, or any evidence which would trace the disappearance of Paul Miller to me. As it turns out, I guess I should not have been as concerned (had I been thinking straight), because there is a replacement Paul Miller almost 2 weeks later. He'll have to deal with how the car and computer gotinto that parking lot. I do not remember the name of the mall.
I went inside to get some coffee from a Starbucks, when I noticed people looking at me strangely. I mean, I STILL was not used to people looking at me as a woman, a strikingly beautiful woman. I am especially unnerved by the admiring stares of black men. Even thethough of having to be like this for the rest of my life, and be with a black man, is enough to make me hysterical. I have to consiously block it out of my thoughts, or else I'll go crazy.
While I am buying coffee and a danish (I was starving at that point),an older man came up to me, and asked, "Excuse me miss? Do I know you? Are you a celebrity or something?"
I had to bring up the image of what this body looked like in mymind's eye. She didn't remind me of any celebrity I knew, but thenagain, I didn't have a lot of time, with my schedule, to watchtelevision.
I meekly responded in that high, thin soprano, "No. I'm nobody. Idon't think you know me."
However, the older man persisted, and was soon joined by some otherpeople."No, I'm sure that I've seen you on television before . . . . "
The man stopped mid-sentence.
A younger guy, maybe in his mid-twenties, pointed at me, and exclaimed, "Yeah. She was that woman who disappeared last September or October. Her picture was all over CNN. They had a nationwide search for her."
Everybody, maybe eight people, began to nod in agreement.
"No. That's not me," I said, putting down my recent purchases, and looking for an exit.
I needed to get out of there as soon as possible. The sense of panic that I'd gotten under control from the initial transformation was back in full force, gripping my heart and stomach with it's evil fist.
I hadn't gone more than a few steps, when I heard somebody behind me yell, "Security. OVER HERE! IT'S THAT MISSING WOMAN . . . . "
Needless to say, I didn't make it out of there. The much bigger security guards were able to easily subdue me. They tried to ask me questions about who I was, and where I was, but I was not able toanswer them. In a short period of time, I found myself in an interrogation room of the Boston Police.
Again, the Detective, Detective Tommy Brown, I beleive, tried questioning me about who I was, where I'd been, etc., but I was honestly not able to tell him anything. (I could not reveal thedetails of Paul Miller's life, where he'd been, and what happened to him. I realized in my trip away from the Inn, I had to keep it asecret, in order to preserve any chance of getting my real body back).
Detective Brown began to call me "Denise," but I still did not register any recognition about who I or she was.T hat's when they got a Police Psychologist and physician involved. By that time, my bruises were pretty much faded, so that did not arouse any suspicions. Only I knew about the bruises, and their location (and what that might mean).
Through the Psychologist, I was able to learn the identity of the body I wore, Deniyce Miles, married to Andre Miles, with a son, Andrew Miles. Disappeared September 24th from her home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Hasn't been seen since, until the apprehension at the mall. They asked me questions over and over again for what must have been 48 straight hours about her life and what happened. Nothing. I was a complete blank.
Finally, all of the experts had agreed that I had to have undergone some emotional trauma that was so severe that it caused complete amnesia. That was definitelly good for me because it would provide me a safe harbor to work from. It also gave me a safe harbor away from a husband that I had yet to meet. It had occured to me, sometime in between the interrogation sessions, based upon the bruising pattern, and the fact Deniyce had just dropped out of sight,that she was running away from something . . . something very bad. Most likely, her husband.
If he beleived that I didn't remember anything, I would not be an immediate threat to him. I also learned that it took the Police about 48 hours to contact Andre Miles, because he was the main suspect in Deniyce's disappearence. There was even suspicion of murder. They were notable to find any physical evidence to arrest him. One of the underlying reasons for my intense questioning, was to develop any evidence against Andre.
Within a few days, "my" husband arrived at the Boston Policedepartment for a "happy" reunion with his wife. He was overjoyed,and actually shed some tears. I was standoffish. That was when they explained my traumatic amnesia to him. His reaction was unique. It was a mixture of shock . . . and relief. Something was going on here. Another mystery that I had to solve. I was getting quite a list of them.
I was going to be busy, while hiding behind a shield of forgetfulness. I was kept for observation for a few days at Boston Memorial, while they ran every possible manner of tests on me. Still there were not any physical reason for the amnesia. It was definitely and emotional trauma in their opinion. The experts spent some time instructing me, and Andre, sometimes together, sometimes separately, how to go about trying to expose me to things to trigger memories. The bottom line here was that I was going to have to go with Andre back to Florida, far away from the world I knew, to live his wife's life.
The prospect was not what I wanted. However, I did have an identity now.
A few (awkward) days later, we arrive home at the house of Deniyce and Andre. It was a small, rundown place off of a road called Sistrunk Boulevard. It was the African-American section of Fort Lauderdale. No sooner did I get inside the house, than I was bombarded by Andre's family and Deniyce's family. They asked rapid fire questions.
Suprisingly, Andre came to my rescue by telling everybody, "No questions. 'Nisi (the first time I heard her/my nickname) has amnesia. The doctors say we have to let her get her memories back on her own, at her own pace. We just have to be there for her. Let's just be happy she's home."
Suddenly, a cute little boy (that looked a lot like Andre) burst through everybody, and hugged my leg.
"Mommy, Mommy. I am so gald you're home. I missed you so much."
Just the expression on his face made me burst into tears.
"What's wrong, Mommy?" the boy said, confused.
Andre bent down, picking up the child, and explaining, "Mommy doesnot remember you son. Let's just give her some time."
Then he started crying. It made me cry harder.
All of the family has gone back to their own lives now. Leaving me with my makeshift family. Andre (thankfully) is sleeping on the couch, leaving me the bed. He hasn't pushed me on any physical affection. He also seems to be bending over backwards to give me whatever I want.
The only thing which has challenged this domestic bliss, is whenAndrew made the observation, "Mommy? You don't sound like you used to."
I have to be very wary, or else Andre may think that I am faking my amnesia. That could be very, very dangerous.
I'll write again when I have my new computer.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Ashlyn--Couplehood

With all the activity of the blog lately, I’ve felt--I don’t know--boring? There have been new victims of the Inn, we’ve heard from both Drew and Jeff, and Art has been screwed over by the guy living his life and is now living as Nell Lincoln. Me? I’ve been job hunting and spending a lot of time with my boyfriend.

Speaking of Art...

I know he was worried about me being left here “alone” in Boston—but now I’m really worried about him. We’ve talked several times on the phone and he sounds upbeat and positive. Maybe too upbeat and positive. It might be me being overly protective of a friend, but I’m afraid he’s in denial. Sure he and that bastard Jeremy might come to some kind of resolution, and Art can get his life back—but it has got to have crossed his mind that they might not. I’ve been through having your life—for lack of a better term—STOLEN. It’s devastating. I had Art to lean on to get through it. If Jeremy continues to be the Asshole he’s shown himself to be… well I wish I could be there for Art like he was for me.

So back to me and my boring life. ;)

I met Matt back in February. I had just recently decided to push myself into the dating scene and adapt even further into my new life as Ashlyn. I wasn’t interested in anything serious or complicated. Let’s be honest here, at that time I recently had sex with Jean-Michel and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it; I was in the mood to experiment a little. I met Matt and he was good looking and funny and he asked me out at exactly the right time. Fast forward 3 months and I find myself still dating the guy. I’ve moved away from my position of “not interested in anything serious” to “I don’t know where this is going”. I’m both thrilled and terrified at the same time.

It’s amazing to me how easy it has been to slip into the role of someone’s girlfriend. Everything is starting to feel ‘couplish’. Friday night we had gone to a party—A “watch the Redsox/Yankees game on tv” party. I put on a little skirt and a small scoop necked top that really showed of my boobs. It was a hair slutty, but I figured I might give Matt a chance to show off his hot girlfriend to his friends. The people at the party were mostly Matt’s friends, and they are a really tight group. I was a little nervous meeting them at first—some of his friends go back all the way to childhood—but they really made me feel comfortable and not like an outsider.

At some point Matt leaves my side to get us some beers. It wasn’t long until I was cornered by someone curious about me. An attractive redhead woman walked over to me and stuck her hand out for a handshake.

“You must be Matt’s mystery girl.” She says to me. “I’m Rachel.”

“I’m not that mysterious. I’m Ashlyn. “ We warmly shake hands and then I reach over and grab a lock of my hair. “I see we are members of the same club.”

“Yep. I’ve been a redhead all my life. People always ask if I color my hair and I tell them ‘You can buy the color, but you can't buy the attitude’.”

We laugh at that and I instantly take a liking to this woman. “How do you know Matt?” I ask.

She pauses and bites her bottom lip as she thinks about her answer. “I’m Matt’s ex-girlfriend. I thought we should meet since I’m friends with a lot of Matt’s friends.”

“Oh.” I was surprised. I blanked and couldn’t think of anything to say.

“I didn’t come over here to create a scene or anything. Matt and I are still good friends and I’ve got a new guy now. I couldn’t be happier. I just didn’t want us bumping into each other and having this big awkward moment—which I guess I managed to create anyway.”

“No, it’s fine. You just surprised me.” I pause for a moment. “I guess Matt has a thing for Redheads.”

Rachel laughs. “Yeah, he does. Ask him about his high school sweetheart sometime. ‘Missy Dawson’ she was his first redhead, I think he’s been stuck on them ever since.”

I probably should have hated this woman or something. That’s the proper girlfriend response right? But I couldn’t. She was too easy to like.

“Hey, I better get back to my boyfriend, he doesn’t know anyone here and he hates being left alone at parties. I just wanted to meet you.” She shakes my hand again. “It was nice to meet you Ashlyn.”

“Nice to meet you too. Can I ask something personal?”

“Why did we break up?” She asks.

I nodded.

“That’s a long discussion. The short answer? We were getting really serious at some point and we had a discussion on kids. I don’t want kids—he does. My job requires I travel often and I love my job--It’s no way to raise kids. We realized we weren’t on the same page on a lot of things at that point, and we decided to move on.”

Kids! Now there something I hadn’t thought a whole lot about. Do I want kids some day? I pushed the thought aside for later.

At that moment a slightly drunk man walked up and slipped an arm around Rachel. “I’ve been looking all over for you. Your friend Terry has this great wedding disaster story he won’t tell until you come back over.”

Rachel waves at me. “Matt’s a great guy. Let’s get together sometime and do lunch and compare notes—I don’t get to do the girl talk thing nearly often enough.”

“Do you like Starbucks?”

“I love Starbucks. Cut me and I bleed Starbucks.” She jokes.

“Me too. Let’s go sometime.”

“Sounds great.” She waves goodbye and they disappear into the party.

About a minute later Matt returns. “Are you having a good time?” Matt asked as he handed me a Sam Adams.

I give him a big smile, lean in and give him a kiss—then wipe the lipstick off of him. “Your friends are great. I’m having a great time. C’mon—let’s go grab a spot on the couch before they are all taken.”

I ended up basically sitting in his lap. I leaned back into him, sitting on him like a chair. I was a little tricky with the short skirt I was wearing, but we make it work. We get comfortable, ready to watch the game and I whisper “So…tell me about Missy Dawson.”

“How the hell do you know about Missy Dawson?” He asked surprised.

I give him a peck on the cheek. “We redheads have a club. We share info.”

He lets out a sigh. “Great. You’ve met Rachel.”

“We’re going to Starbucks.”

“I am so fucked.”

I’ve mentioned before in this blog that I’m a basketball fan, not a baseball fan. Kind of like I am learning to adapt to my life as a woman, I’m learning to be a Redsox fan. The total of my knowledge about baseball: I know there are nine innings and 3 strikes and you are out. I ask questions about the game as we watch the game and I come off like a total chick—but I guess that okay. Besides, Matt really seems to enjoy explaining the game to me.

The Redsox lost—5 to 9. No one was that upset. “Hey we’re still ahead of them by something like 13 games.” Matt assures me.

Afterwards I go home with him and stay at his place—we had planned it ahead of time because we had decided to drive out to Providence and see my ‘Rents before they went on their trip to New Zealand. I had packed an overnight bag and everything. When we got to his place it was an insane hour so I stripped and slipped into one his t-shirts and crawled into bed.
It was past 3am and he slides into bed next to me, spooning me. It was nice. I like the feeling of having a warm body next to mine. He slides an arm around me and it feels even better. Of course he couldn’t leave well enough alone. He pushes my hair aside and starts kissing my neck, he was trying a little foreplay.

“What are you doing?” I try to not sound annoyed—I was exhausted.

“What?”

“It’s after 3.”

“So? All I wanted was a kiss.” He says innocently.

I roll over and face him. “Yeah, right.” He’s leaning on one arm now looking down on me. I give him a big smile and grab him by the front of the black t-shirt was wearing, pulling him down to me, kissing him. It was a good ten second kiss. I could feel his body responding. I push him gently away and pat him affectionately on the chest.

“You still just want a kiss?” I give him one of my smirks.

“Well not now—“

“Too bad. It’s after 3.” I attempt to give him a seductive look—I’m still trying to master such things. “Baby, I’m tired. But in the morning, I’m all yours-- it will be worth the wait.”
He gives a frustrated sigh and we return back into the spooning position.

“You have no idea how frustrating it is to be a guy.”

He couldn’t understand why I started laughing so hard.

Not totally unemployed…

I’ve hit a brick wall in the job hunting. No one wants to hire me as a waitress, and I don’t have any work history for anything else. If it wasn’t for the promotional stuff I do, I don’t know how I could survive financially. The promotional stuff is decent money but unfortunately the radio station doesn’t need me that often. I’m not making enough to pay all my bills, but at least the financial hole I am in isn’t getting too much deeper. I do have a dilemma of needing to pay my rent and make another payment to the IRS for back taxes in the next few days. I don’t know what I am going to do. Matt knows I am in a tough spot and has offered to loan me the money, but that just feels wrong to me.

After one of the radio station gigs, me and a bunch of the other girls stepped into a bar for cosmos. We were a hit with the crowd there—all the girls who work these promotion gigs are hot, and we were all wearing short shorts and baby t’s. I mentioned my job woes to the other girls and they were actually very supportive. One girl, Kara, said she had a contact with the promotions people who do local car shows.

“It’s actually easier work than these radio station gigs.” She says to me.

“Oh?” I ask interested. “What would I have to do?”

“Wear a bikini and lean up against the cars. Easy but boring.” She says cheerfully.

I was copying down the contact information when one of the other girls approached me. Her name was Heather. I had worked a handful of the radio jobs with her. She was nice.

“You have waitress experience, right?” She asked.

“Yeah.”

“Where I work they are always looking for pretty girls with waitress skills. I could put in a good word for you and I guarantee you would get the job—plus the tips are always good.”
“Really! That would be amazing! Where do you work?” I asked. I was excited, things were looking up.

“Headlights.”

“Headlights?” I think she saw my enthusiasm wane.

“What’s wrong with Headlights?” She was a little defensive.

I didn’t have a real answer besides that I don’t really see myself as a Headlights girl. The outfit I was wearing at that moment—the short shorts and baby t, were very similar to the outfits the girls at headlights wear--so obviously I didn’t have a problem wearing an outfit like that. Maybe it was because I had visited the Dallas headlights on many occasions and had given the waitresses a good look. I had often thought ‘pretty to look at, but nothing upstairs’. Maybe I was afraid of people thinking the same thing about me.

“I don’t know if my boyfriend would like that…” I lamely threw out as an excuse.

“I bet he loves the idea.” She takes out a piece of paper and writes down some contact info. “Talk to the BF and then give this guy a call.”

I took the info and put it in my purse. Maybe I’m being crazy. A job is a job, right?

--Ashlyn

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