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Men In Black Dresses

by Valentina Michelle Smith

 

It was a beautiful autumn night, crisp and clear, with a hint in the air of the cold winter to come. Jeff Wagner breathed the cool air, savoring the smells of suburbia as he walked his dog. He reflected how much better life was here in the 'burbs, away from the pollution, the crime, and the wierdoes which abounded in the city. Here, at least, he could feel safe outside at night.

He tugged on his dog's leash, trying to get him to hurry. The dog, remaining singularly unimpressed, went about his business at his own pace. Damn, it was easier when he was a puppy! All he had to do was take him outside and the dog would just finish in one spot and head back in. Now he had to walk all over the place marking his territory. Next week he was taking this pooch to get fixed. The kids might not like it, but at least the mutt would be easier to handle.

Wagner was just rounding the corner when he noticed his neighbor's car pull into its driveway. Her watched as the door opened and a lady got out. Must be Evelyn, he thought. She usually doesn't drive George's car. Oh, well, maybe she had to borrow it. Wait a minute, that woman is a brunette. I thought Evelyn was a blonde. Did she get her hair dyed? Come to think of it, that girl is sort of tall. Evelyn is a short woman. What in...?

It was at that moment when Jeff made eye contact. This was definitely not Evelyn. Jesus, it's...

"George? George Daniels?" he shouted out.

A look of horror came over George. He was frozen for a brief moment which seemed to last forever. Then he turned and raced up to the front door. He ran inside without saying a word.

Jeff Wagner was stunned. Jesus H. Christ, my neighbor George is a goddam faggot! A drag queen! Wow, wait till the neighbors get a load of this! That stuck-up stuffed shirt thinks he's so much better than everybody! Now I can take him down a few pegs!

From behind his front door, George watched Jeff Wagner through the peephole. Damn it! Of all the people to catch me out en femme, it had to be that moron Jeff Wagner! That jerk never could mind his own business. That man spread gossip faster than anybody in the neighborhood.

George's heart was pounding with fear. What the hell was I thinking! I was told never to go out dressed without an escort, but I had to just drive around in my dress and makeup. Well, the damage is done. I'd better make the call. His hands trembling, George dialed the number.

* * * * *

A few months earlier, toward the tail end of summer, Norm Taylor walked up the steps of a very non-descript building in the city. It was just another faceless building in the concrete jungle. You might have passed it many times without even thinking about what might be inside. Persons casually wandering in would be met by a polite receptionist who would assure them that this was not the building they were looking for, and then provide directions to their actual destination. You might even recognize it if I told you just where it is.

Of course, if I told you, I would have to kill you.

Norm was one of a very few people to be actually invited into the building. He presented his letter of introduction to the receptionist, informing her that an appointment had been made for him with a Ms. Mary Risberg. The receptionist smiled, scrutinized the letter Norm had presented, consulted her PC, and then said "Yes, Ms. Risberg is expecting you. Won't you please step inside?"

A buzzer sounded, unlocking the door. Norm stepped through the door into a long corridor. The lady at the end of the corridor was just hanging up the phone. "Hello, Mr. Taylor. Ms. Risberg will be out to meet you shortly. Won't you come in and have a seat?" She held the door open as Norm walked down the corridor.

Inside, Norm found a number of comfortable seats, much like those found in any waiting room. Several women were seated behind desks, working at PC's or talking on the phone. Just then, a tall woman entered.

She was dressed in a conservatively tailored business suit with a slit skirt that extended past her knees. Her white blouse was set off by a small golden necklace. She walked toward Norm and extended her hand. Norm could not help but notice her perfectly manicured nails and subtly understated makeup. "Detective Taylor?" she asked.

He shook her hand, impressed by her strong grip. "That's me," he replied, "and you must be Ms. Risberg."

"Please, call me Mary."

"Thank you. And please call me Norm."

"Thank you for coming today, Norm. Would you please step into my office?"

Mary's office was small, but comfortable. Norm waited for Mary to close the door and sit behind her desk before sitting down himself. "I imagine you are curious as to why you were invited here." she said, consulting some papers from a manila file.

"Yes, I am. It isn't every day that a city detective gets a confidential letter from as important a person as Mr. N_______. He said you might have a very interesting offer for me, but wouldn't elaborate."

"Peter and I are old friends," Mary said. "We often co-operate on cases. Your record is quite impressive. You earned a criminology degree at night while working as a cop, and then got promoted to detective. You have been working on the sexual assault squad for three years now. Your superiors are quite impressed."

She looked up at Norm. "Not many men volunteer to be decoys. Tell me, do you enjoy wearing women's clothes?"

Norm's face began to redden. "What exactly are you getting at?"

Mary smiled. "You are active on the internet. You have a Hotmail account under the name of Lisa Darling and regularly post on Usenet via Google. I liked that bit about breast forms in alt.fashion.crossdressing, by the way. Also, you like to visit certain chat rooms. Your favorite is Donna's, but you have been in Susan's as well."

"Listen," said Norm, getting a little angry, "if this is some sort of set-up..."

"Relax, Norm," said Mary, "nobody outside this organization knows any of this. Not your superiors, not your friends, nobody. And they never will. This information will never leave my office. Honey, you are among friends here. I'm a crossdresser myself."

Norm was dumbfounded. "How can that be? You look so, so..."

"Good? So do you, Norm. I've seen you in action. That's how you first came to my attention. You see, we've met before."

A puzzled look crept onto Norm's face. "I don't think I remember meeting you before."

"That's because I gassed you, dear."

Norm's puzzlement grew deeper. "Let me explain, Norm. You were doing your decoy bit downtown when you spotted a purse-snatching. You ran after the perp and collared him, in heels no less, threw him down, cuffed him, and read him his rights without even smearing your lipstick. Nice work."

"When you came to the victim to tell her that her purse would have to be kept as evidence, you immediately recognized him. A certain well-known male who was at that time outside en femme."

Wait a second," said Norm, "I never did anything of the sort."

You just don't remember, hon. I used this on you." Mary held a small cylinder in her hand. It looked just like a breath spray. "This is a powerful psychoactive agent which induces a state of extreme suggestibility. I sprayed you with this, and then told you to forget what had just happened. I also sprayed the perp."

Norm's head was spinning. "Norm," said Mary, "I know this is a lot for you to take in right now. Believe me, you are among friends. You have a real talent, and we could use it."

"Just who are you people?" Norm asked.

Mary stood up. "We are a branch of the Federal Justice Department. We were originally part of the FBI, but now exist as a separate enforcement agency. Our activities are secret. Essentially, we provide protection and damage control to transgendered government officials and persons who are important to the security of the United States. Our organization has no official name or existence. We are probably the most covert group in the government. And we want you to join us."

"Join you?" he said. "I need to know a lot more about this before I decide."

"Fine," said Mary, "we can give you a background tour of our facility and fill you in on some of our activities. Let you observe and talk to some of the agents. In this way, you can make a more informed choice."

"And if I say no?"

"You will be free to leave. Of course, we will have to gas you again. You will have no memory of me, this interview, or of the existence of this organization."

"And if I say yes?"

"Then you will begin training for field operations in the most exclusive and covert agency in the world. However, I have to warn you that once you commit to us, your existence as Norman Taylor will officially end. No record that you ever existed will remain. Your birth certificate, military record, police files... all will be eliminated. Even your Social Security number. In essence, your male identity will die."

"That's a hefty price to pay."

"True. It requires dedication far beyond the call of duty. But I think you are the sort of person who would relish the challenge. And the opportunity to make life a little easier for some of out transgendered sisters."

So what do you say, Norm?"

Norm became thoughtful. "Actually, it does sound intriguing."

"Norm, would you like to tour the facility en femme? We have a nice selection of clothes, all the prostheses you would need, and a very good supply of makeup. I'm sure we have your shade in stock."

A smile began to replace Norm's puzzled frown. "Yes, I think I would, but..."

"Don't be shy, dear. I would just love to show Lisa our little office. Let me take you to our wardrobe where you can pick out something pretty."

Norm could hardly contain his excitement as Mary led him into the wardrobe. True to Mary's word, the selection was impressive. There was just one thing that struck him.

"Mary, why is everything black?"

Mary smiled. "Black is probably the most inconspicuous color there is. It lets us do our work without being noticed. When you were on decoy duty, your job was to attract attention. Our job is to avoid it."

"Besides,' she continued, "it's easy to accessorize black. Just about everything goes with it."

That sounded logical! Norm looked around, and then chose a black dress, tan pantyhose, pumps, an auburn wig, and a pearl necklace with matching earrings. He took these into the dressing room where he found breast forms, a waist cincher, and hip pads similar to those he wore for decoy duty. It did not take long to dress.

Next, he stopped at one of the vanities where he found an ample supply of makeup. He deftly applied beard cover, foundation, blush, eye makeup, and lipstick. Admiring the feminine face he now observed in the mirror, he put on his wig and fluffed it out a little.

Norm, now Lisa, emerged from the dressing room. Mary looked her over. "Nice. You really make a pretty girl, Lisa. But we have to work on your makeup. It needs to be a bit subdued. Now, shall we take the tour?"

The office was really not very flashy. PC's were everywhere, but it wasn't exactly the sort of high-tech spy headquarters one might expect from the movies. There were just a lot of girls going about a normal office routine. What Lisa found most perplexing, though, was the fact that there were no men.

"Everybody here is transgendered," said Mary when Lisa asked about it. "We are mostly crossdressers, but some are pre- and post-op transsexuals."

"How did this agency get started?" Lisa asked.

"As I said, it was originally part of the FBI. When Hoover started staffing the Bureau, he recruited Irish Catholic men who had been trained in Jesuit schools. He reasoned that such a man would never betray his country. What he didn't count on was that such a man was also far more likely to be a transvestite."

"It soon came to Hoover's attention that a number of government officials were being blackmailed. They apparently were crossdressers. This represented a serious threat to national security. So Hoover tapped into a resource which he had previously considered a liability and organized an elite cadre of crossdressing agents. Our charter was to prevent accidental discovery of transgendered officials and to perform damage control if they were 'read.'"

"Hey," said Lisa, "what about that story that Hoover liked to dress up?"

"Pure fiction," Mary replied. "Part of our disinformation program. Hoover actually did get totally en femme once. He would never ask one of his agents to do something that he would not. But dressing was not really something he enjoyed, so it was a one-time thing."

"So how did this agency become separated from the FBI?" Lisa asked.

"This happened in the 50's, when a number of top defense scientists and engineers turned out to be transgendered. In order to effectively protect these security risks, we had to be able to function across agency lines. So we were severed from the Bureau and now are an independent arm of the Justice Department. We also work with the NSA, the CIA, and the Secret Service."

"The Secret Service?" Lisa asked? "You mean, a president...?"

"Several, actually," Mary answered. "Like I said, a lot of creative, talented people like yourself are transgendered. We don't know why, but there is a high degree of correlation between creativity and crossdressing."

"So, Lisa," Mary asked, "how do you feel about joining our little sorority?"

There was not a second of hesitation. "This is like a dream come true! Yes, count me in!"

Mary extended her hand, smiling. "Welcome home, sis. We're glad to have you here."

* * * * *

Annette was on dispatch when the call came in. It was George Daniels, one of their charges. George was a talented software engineer and mathematician with special knowledge of encryption and decryption schemes. What he knew, in the wrong hands, could compromise much of the intelligence activities of the country. And the idiot expressly defied instructions by going out en femme without an agency escort. Not only that, the damned fool had been spotted.

Annette relayed the call to Mary, who was pulling down a night watch. Mary read the dispatch and silently mouthed Oh shit! Time for a field trip. She picked up the phone and dialed.

"Lisa, this is Mary. We have to roll. Damage control."

"OK, Mary. I'll meet you at the garage in ten minutes."

In the past few months, Lisa had progressed well. Her makeup and manicure were impeccable, as was her tailored suit. She tended to favor shorter skirts than Mary did, but her legs were probably her best feature and she liked showing them off. Her hair, now all her own, was cut in a shag, allowing her gold earrings to show. She finally had the pierced ears she always wanted. She buttoned up her raincoat, stepped out of the elevator and into the garage. She signed out a car just as Mary was arriving, who filled her in on the details.

The drive to the suburbs took about 45 minutes. The black car pulled up in front of the Wagner home. Mary and Lisa walked up the steps and rang the doorbell. Jeff answered.

Mary flashed her ID. "Mr. Wagner, I'm special agent Mary Risberg. This is my partner, Lisa Darling. We're from the Justice department. May we come in?"

For all of his macho bravado, Jeff Wagner was easily intimidated. And nothing could be more intimidating then the sight of these two grim-visaged black-clad amazons flashing badges. He opened the door and let them in.

"Am I in some kind of trouble?" he asked.

"No, Mr. Wagner, but you could be very helpful in a matter vital to national security," Mary replied in a very official-sounding voice. "We understand that you observed something unusual at the Daniels home this evening"

Jeff was taken aback, but also mildly flattered at his own importance. "You mean George? Yeah, I saw something kind of crazy. But how did you know?"

It was Lisa's turn to do the monotone. "George Daniels has been under observation for some time now. His work involves security matters which we cannot discuss here. He has, however, begun to engage in some compromising behavior."

"You mean the drag? Yeah, I saw him all dolled up. I never took him for a goddam queer, though. Is that what you mean?"

"Correct, Mr. Wagner," Mary replied. When exactly did you observe this behavior?"

"I guess it was about an hour ago. Maybe more. I was walking my dog and I saw the car pull up. Then I saw him get out. He was all dolled up, with a wig and makeup and high heels and everything. When I called to him, I must have scared him shitless, 'cause he just ran up to the door. Jesus, I nearly pissed myself! Uh, excuse my French, ladies."

Mary said "I've heard worse. Did anybody else see him?"

"I don't think so. It was just me and my dog Homer."

"This is important, Mr. Wagner," said Lisa, "have you told anybody else about it?"

"Not yet. But tomorrow the guys down at the Ale House are gonna get an earful." Wagner paused for a minute. "Unless I have to keep it secret. Like, you might be still investigating this creep."

Lisa and Mary exchanged glances. Wagner was clearly not the sort of person who could be counted on to keep his mouth shut. "Thank you, Mr. Wagner," said Mary. Your Information has been very helpful."

Wagner never saw Lisa pull the perfume bottle labeled "Oblivion" from her purse. He felt the spray on the back of his neck. Then, the room started to spin. For a moment he felt like he was falling. Then he was back in his living room with the two government broads. But something felt different. He felt light-headed and serene, like he was floating on clouds, but not really floating. Just kind of fuzzy around the edges.

Lisa counted to ten, allowing the psychoactive drug she sprayed on Wagner to be absorbed into his skin. "Mr. Wagner," she said, "you know, it's easy to mistake somebody in the dark."

"Mistake," Wagner repeated, smiling. Yes, it is easy. Happens all the time.

"Sometimes," Lisa continued, "we think we recognize somebody but it turns out that we didn't really see that person."

Sure, Wagner thought, that makes perfect sense.

"When you thought you saw your neighbor George tonight, it wasn't really him. That was his wife, Evelyn."

Oh, sure, it had to be. Of course it was Evelyn. Who else could it have been?

"After all, Mr. Wagner, it was dark out. It's hard to judge distance in the dark. And colors can look funny, too. Sometimes we see hair that looks dark when it's really blonde."

This was making perfect sense to Jeff Wagner. How silly he had been!

"In fact, Mr. Wagner," Lisa went on, "this whole matter is so irrelevant that you might just forget all about it."

Sure. Forget it. Nothing worth bothering about. A lot of fuss over nothing at all!

"Mr. Wagner, why don't you just sit down and watch some television. You'll feel a lot better. And soon you will forget all about what you saw. And you will forget all about us, too. It's not important to remember that you ever met us"

Great idea. I'll just sit here in my recliner and watch a little Nick at Night. Nothing else really matters.

"We will be leaving now, Mr. Wagner. You will not remember seeing us tonight. In a few minutes, you will be feeling just fine."

Wagner was now lost in the vast wasteland of old sitcoms. His total attention was on Gilligan and the Skipper. He never noticed when Lisa and Mary let themselves out.

The black car had one more stop to make. It pulled into the Daniels' driveway. George, now completely en drabbe, opened the door for them.

"Mary! Thank God you came! I was spotted by that asshole Wagner and..."

"Calm down, George," Mary reassured him, "we took care of Wagner. If he remembers anything at all, it will be your wife getting out of your car."

George was visibly relieved. "Thank you! I thought I was out for sure!"

"That brings up another matter, George," Mary continued, sounding a bit like an annoyed schoolmarm. "You know that Jeanette has to have an escort when she goes outside. How many times do we have to tell you, sweetie?"

George cast his eyes down, like a child who had just been scolded. "I'm sorry, Mary. I just needed a night out en femme and..."

"And you just took off. Honey, that's a prescription for a forced outing! You know you just have to call and one of our girls will be happy to take you out. That's what we're here for, dear! Do you know how many gals like you would kill for that kind of support?"

George was blushing. "Sorry. I really don't know what to say."

Mary's demeanor softened. "Just say you won't go out dressed without one of us to help you. We're here for you, sis."

A tear welled up in George's eye. He brushed it back and began to smile. "OK, Mary, I'll never go out by myself again."

"Thanks, sweetie. It'll save us a lot of damage control work." She opened her arms and hugged George.

"Say George," Lisa chimed in, "how's Lynne and Katie doing?"

George smiled. "They are both in New York on Katie's senior trip. She graduates this spring and starts at Penn next fall."

"So she was accepted! That's wonderful, George!"

"Yes. My little girl is getting all grown up. I guess her next big crisis is choosing a prom gown."

"I'm sure it will be beautiful," Lisa said. "Have you heard from Young George recently?"

"Last I heard he was studying for his midterms at MIT. I think he really has a gift for Physics."

"He may be gifted in other ways, George," Mary said. "We have been keeping an eye on him. It seems he's set up a Yahoo e-mail account under the name Carol Ellen and has been dropping in on Susan's chat room. We think he's gender gifted, like his dad."

George was a bit stunned. "Wow! I never suspected."

"Has he ever met Jeanette?"

"No. Evelyn and I decided not to tell the kids, to keep them from getting too confused. But now..."

"It's not a problem, hon," said Mary. "We can help him out if you like. Give him a little support. Let him know it's nothing to be ashamed of. Lisa, would you like to be George junior's big sister?"

Lisa smiled. "Sure. Maybe we could go shopping together. I know some T-friendly shops in the area. We could get him a makeover. And maybe, George, you two could have a girls' night out."

George thought for a moment. "Maybe. It's about time he met Jeanette. And I could get to know Carol, too. My God, I think we were chatting at The Pink Room last week! I never suspected a thing!"

Lisa and Mary exchanged glances. "Let's set something up for next week, after midterms. Maybe you two could have that night out during the Thanksgiving break."

"Well, George," Mary said, "if you won't be needing us, we have to get back to headquarters. Lots of paperwork to fill out."

"Sure, Mary. Good night. And thanks. I don't know what I would do without you."

Mary and Lisa got into the black car and drove away.

 

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Epilog.

Jeff Wagner was making the neighborhood rounds with his dog homer when he spotted the Daniels' car pulling into the driveway. He watched as George and his son emerged.

"Hey, George! How ya doin'?"

Both Georges turned. "Hi, Jeff!" called George senior. "I'm just fine. Young George is home for Thanksgiving break."

"Good to see you, Georgie boy!" Jeff called. Young George cringed a little at hearing the hated nickname. "How's it going up at MIT?"

"Just great, Mr Wagner. I'm really excited about the advanced Physics program. It's hard, but I'm really getting a lot out of it."

"Good for you, boy! Hey, how would you two like to come over to my place to watch the game? I'm having a lot of the guys over. Got lots of beer and snacks."

George exchanged a smile with his son, and said "Thanks, Jeff, it's really nice of you, but we already have plans. We're going to be spending a little quality time together."

"Sure, George. I understand. You don't get much time with Junior these days. What you got in mind? Some hunting maybe?"

"No, we just thought we would spend a day in the city. Maybe take in a show."

"OK, guys, but if you change your mind, give me a call."

"Thanks, Jeff. And have a good holiday. Say hi to Joanie and the kids."

"Will do, George. So long."

Jeff walked away, shaking his head. Looks like George junior is going to be another boring geek like his old man. Jesus, don't those people ever do anything halfway exciting?

George junior watched Wagner walk down the street. That guy didn't have a clue! That's when his father asked him, in a low voice, "Well, should I give Mary a call, Carol?"

Young George smiled, thinking about the special secret he now shared with his father. "Sure thing, Jeanette. I'm dying to go shopping."

Smiling, they entered their home.

 

1998 Valentina Michelle Smith

  

  

  

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1998 by Valentina Michelle Smith. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, and compilation design) may be printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of StorySite and the copyright holder.