Crystal's StorySite

Monica, the Vietnamese Whore
by: Debbie Cybill


WE ALL WENT to the opera that night, Mom, Janet and I, together with our Swedish girl friends Gudrun and Karen, to see The Marriage of Figaro. Frederica von Stade was visiting Convent Garden from the Met and sang the part of Cherubino; she always does excel in transvestite roles, or trouser roles as they are known in the theatre. As usual Janet and I were en femme - we are both compulsive transvestites; I suppose that is why we like to see transvestite roles like Cherubino. Janet, whose name is Johnny when he is dressed for work, and his girl friend Karen were wearing identical outfits, consisting of simple shoulderless black silk sheaths to the ankles and scarlet silk stoles. Karen looked stunning, and even Janet carried herself well. Mom was wearing a tan evening dress of taffeta, with long sleeves and a matching stole, while Gudrun and I both wore mid-calf silk dresses in deep turquoise, flaring from the hips, and over them cocoon jackets of the same material.

The night was warm, but it was impossible to get a taxi in the crowd near Convent Garden, so we began to walk towards Soho and the restaurant where we had booked a table, and our route unexpectedly took us through a street where the transvestite prostitutes were plying their trade.

"That's the common stereotype of the transvestite in the public mind, though I don't suppose they really outnumber transvestites like us. They are merely more obvious."

On an impulse I crossed the road and approached one of them, an Asian by the look of it, Vietnamese I thought, dressed in a bright orange micro-skirt, a tight-fitting black top, which was surprisingly flat-chested, high-heeled black boots and stockings whose tops were occasionally displayed by running a hand provocatively up the side of the skirt.

"Lookin' fer a bit o' fun, ducks?"

The appearance may have been Vietnamese, but the accent was straight cockney, with no attempt to modulate the baritone voice. I put on my best Eliza Doolitle voice.

"Nao. I just wanted ter talk ter you for 'alf a moment. Here's ten quid for yer trouble."

The ten-pound note disappeared into the top of her boot.

"I ain't done nuffin' wrong. Are you narcs? I'm a good girl I am."

Shades of Eliza Doolittle!

The rest of our party started to cross the road and the tart's pimp sauntered towards us, a big black Jamaican from the look of him, with open-necked purple shirt and half a dozen gold chains around his neck.

"Here! Wot's goin' on here. Are you bovvering one o' me gals?"

Another cockney accent.

"Nao! I only want to talk a bit. I'm not chatting her up. Here's a fiver fer yer trouble. Why don't you go away and look after yer other gals?"

He moved off slowly, looking round at me suspiciously. The rest of our party kept their distance.

"Wot's yer name, ducks?"

"Monica. But wot's that to you?"

"Nuffing, really, but I have to call you sumfing. How did yer start this life, Monica?"

Could I keep up this accent, I wondered? It was easy with a script, but to ad lib was something else again.

"Me farver used to beat me up sumfing awful when I were a kid, an' I got inter the drug scene when I were ten. By 13 I were inter hash, crack, smack, acid, booze, you name it, dealin' an' stealin' to support me habit. Me old man nearly killed me when I stole his watch an' he caught me, so I ran away from home and lived on the streets for a bit, stealin', dealin' and sellin' me arse. It was orlright in the summer, but when autumn came on I began to look fer sumfing warmer. Joe - that's me pimp - took me in orf the street and give me a room o' me own, wiv a bed and a great big armchair."

Was this a deliberate parody of My Fair Lady? Somehow this kid was relating to me and treating me as a father confessor.

"He found me more tricks an' I began to earn more dough, even though 'e took 'is share in payment of rent."

"How old are you now, Monica?"

My accent was beginning to slip, but she didn't notice.

"I was sixteen last month. I've bin wiv Joe two an' an half years."

"But you haven't told me how you started to dress like this."

"Joe said I would pull in more dough if I did. I didn't like it at first, but he were right. At first I couldn't wait ter get inter jeans at the end o' the working night, but now I often change into a knee-length skirt and put a padded bra under me tee-shirt for the day. I like wearing gals' clothes, now."

"But you're not wearing a bra now?"

"Naah! I have ter advertise me wares properly. If I 'ad boobs the Johns might think I was a woman hooker, or a transsexual. That'd be false advertisin'. Like this they know wot they're agettin' - a real transvestite male whore."

"So you were a male whore first and then a TV? You're not a transsexual are you?"

"Naah! I'm just a male whore. Charlie over there," pointing to a white caucasian hooker dressed in close imitation of Julia Roberts in the opening scenes of Pretty Woman, "'He’s a TS. He's savin' up all his dough to be cut. He won't make it though; he'll be dead uv AIDS afore he's saved up enough, poor kid."

"Aren't you afraid of AIDS?"

"Aw, Lord luv you, ducks, I'm HIV-positive now. But I'll OD afore I die of AIDS."

"Aren't you afraid of giving AIDS to your tricks? It seems unfair on them."

"Gor blimey! They bloody well get wha they pay fer. Those buggers deserve what they get, believe me."

I saw the fury in his eyes and decided I had heard enough.

"'Ere's anovver tenner. Ta-ta, Monica."

As we walked on towards our restaurant Mom said, "That's the other side of the transvestite life, but that child is not really a transvestite like you boys, just a victim of circumstances. He may be naturally a homosexual, but I doubt even that. The transsexual, Charlie, though, is more complex. I must think about it all." Mom was reacting like the medical professional she is.

Just then we heard a tambourine.

"What is that sound, Debbie? I seems strange at this time of night."

"It's the Salvation Army, trying to save souls from amongst the prostitutes. They always announce themselves that way. Don't you have them in Sweden?"

"I do not think so. Do you know about them, Karen?"

"Is not Major Barbara in Shaw's play a Salvation Army major?"

"That's right, Karen, but do you have the Salvation Army in Sweden?"

"I have never heard of them at home."

"We call the women officers `Sally Anne' here, and they seem to do some good in saving hookers, a lot more in feeding and housing the homeless, but I don't like their missionary work, though I suppose without their beliefs they would not do the good they do. Look, there's Sally Anne, just speaking to Monica."


"How are you doing tonight, Monica?"

"I just had a weird talk wiv a transvestite guy, Cap'n Marjorie. He didn't seem to want anyfink, jes' ter talk. I think he must jist be TV, not gay at all. He wanted ter know about me life."

"People do take an interest in you and your mates, you know. A lot of people try to help. Why don't you accept God and come to us?"

"It's a bit late fer that, miss, now I've gorn and got HIV-positive. The best fing fer me is to OD afore the symptoms become too bad an' I git AIDS."

"It's never too late. If you change your mind you know where to find the Sally Anne. We can always take care of you, help you to get off drugs and nurse you if you get AIDS. And remember, God loves all of us sinners here below. God bless."

"You too, Cap'n Marjorie."


Deng Ban Sung had been born in a refugee camp in Hong Kong, where his parents were stranded for three years as boat people from Saigon, or Ho Chi Min City as it was now called. His father had been a dentist in Saigon, his mother a professor of engineering. They escaped with 93 other people in a leaky fishing boat, but by the time they came ashore on the coast of Kowloon, in the New Territories, there were only 47 left alive, Muen the dentist and Thueh the engineer amongst them.

Conditions in the refugee camp were grim, but not as bad they became some years later, when the forced repatriation program started for Vietnamese refugees. In any case, there was always hope of acceptance as refugees in a western country. Muen and Thueh were luckier than most; they were young and healthy, so there was no fear that they would be rejected on the grounds of tuberculosis or other diseases; as professional people they spoke both English and French, the latter the language of their schooling; and they were together, unlike so many other married couples who had been separated, either by death of one of the partners or by the chances of the escape route.

They applied first for acceptance by Canada, thinking that their knowledge of the two official languages of that country would be helpful, but found themselves at the end of a long waiting list, with no possible sponsor in sight. After all, since French was the language of education in Vietnam and English was the language of commerce and business, most of the educated class had both languages. Then they received through the Red Cross, a letter from a cousin who had emigrated to England, offering to sponsor them. They were interviewed extensively by a British consular official, and finally told that if their cousin, Jong, would send them tickets and post a bond of 25,000 they would be accepted as immigrants to Britain. Muen's cousin enlisted the aid of the Vietnamese community in London and was able to meet the financial conditions, so that after a mere three years in the camp they were able to emigrate and enter Britain with the chance of becoming British citizens after a few years.

In the meantime Thueh had conceived - there were no contraceptives available in the camp - and after two years of incarceration she gave birth to a boy, whom the camp priest named Deng, after consulting the oracles. Thueh had a terrible diet during the years of incarceration in the concentration camp which was the reality of the so-called refugee camps in Hong Kong, and it was not surprising that her baby should be small. But he seemed healthy, so the British medical authorities saw no reason to turn down the family for immigration, as they did with so many in like circumstances.

Deng celebrated his first birthday the day after he arrived in London. Like most of the Vietnamese community in London, who were saving every penny to sponsor more refugees, cousin Jong lived in a slum tenement. For the first weeks Muen and his family slept on the floor there, until they were able to find slum accommodation of their own. The government provided training grants for them which were adequate to pay the rent and food, but little else. They soon realized that neither Muen nor Thueh could practice their professions. Their qualifications were not recognized by the British Dental Association or by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Muen decided that the best he could do for now was to accept a menial job as a janitor, while Thueh, who had the child to support, enrolled in classes to enable her to re-qualify as an engineer. Perhaps once she had a job in her profession he too could re-qualify while she provided financial support for him. At least the janitorial job provided free accommodation, which went with the position.

Four years later Thueh received her British degree in applied sciences from the University of London and two years after that was accepted for membership of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, and could put the proud letters B.A.Sc., M.I.M.E. behind her name. The only job she could find, though, was as an engineering draughtsman. The prejudice against women in engineering was so strong that these were the only jobs available - and they were called draughtsmen, not draughtspersons. At least the wage was enough for Muen to start back in dental school once more.

By now Deng was seven years old and in his third year at school. The considerable privation of their lives and the relatively neglect he had received from his parents as they struggled to make a living in the slum tenement where they lived, had told upon Deng. He rarely saw his father, who was worked 18 hours a day in his role of general handyman for the slum block of flats in the East End of London, where they lived. When he did, Muen was always tired and irritable. Thueh, too, was perpetually exhausted from her studies at university and her chores in keeping the household. They had postponed having other children until they were both reestablished in their professions.

Deng bore the brunt of their tiredness in constant scolding and nagging, interspersed with long periods of total neglect, and sometimes actual physical abuse. There were no periods of vacation. Every penny scraped together went to assist other refugees. Deng had no toys, nothing to play with. The tenement housed other Vietnamese families, but chance dictated that all the Vietnamese children of his age were girls. Boys of his age from other races showed the usual xenophobia inculcated in children of this age, and tended to bully the smaller Deng, who responded by becoming a mean street fighter and a loner.

One consequence was that unlike most Vietnamese children in western schools he did not excel in class work. Most of his compatriots from refugee homes tended to do well in school, but not Deng. He rapidly became a rebel, a truant and a disruptive influence in class when he was there. Conditions at home began to improve somewhat. Muen had ceased his janitorial job when he enrolled in dental school, and the family had moved to another flat in the same tenement block. Thueh was earning a better wage than her husband had up till now, and felt able to spend a little more on clothes and a better diet. Still every spare penny went to the refugee fund, and life was still pretty spartan with little furniture in the flat except what they had obtained from the Sally Anne.

Deng did not want for intelligence. Despite his truancy and disruptive behaviour in class he obtained reasonable marks, above most of the native cockneys in his class, but below most of the immigrant Asians. It was only in sports that he performed really badly, and not just because of his small stature. In impromptu games he was always the last to be picked, both because he was pretty well useless on the team, and also because the other boys disliked the mean streak he showed at times. So did the teachers, who might have been expected to cure him of this kind of behaviour. They were over-extended, as in all slum schools, and tended to spend more time with those children who showed ability and willingness to learn.

Thueh was now the financial support of the family, while Muen attended Dental school. He resented the loss of his role as provider and took an evening job at a fast food outlet. Again he was working 18 hours a day, coming home tired and irritable. Deng bore the brunt of it, with constant beatings, often for no reason at all. His truancy became worse, his loneliness increased and his resentment against society became overwhelming.

He was ten and in his last year at elementary school when Dread-locks approached him, a thirteen-year old West Indian Rastafarian who had left Deng's school a couple years before.

"Hey, kid, d'you wanna smoke some hash?"

"Nah! I ain't got no moolah."

Deng was astonished that anyone would talk to him. He was too much of an outsider for that.

"Aw, come on! This's my treat. I jest come by a stash, an' I wanna share it."

Sharing anything was a new experience for Deng. He was hooked. His first puff revolted him, but he was not going to show yellow to his new found friend. The second was better, but then he felt giddy.

"What's this supposed to do ter you? It ain't doing nuffing fer me."

"It'll hit yer in 'alf a moment."

It did not ‘hit’ him that time, but a couple of weeks later, when Dread-locks again appeared, he finally found the delights of marijuana. Over the next two or three months he shared marijuana with Dread-locks some six times, crack once and acid twice. He preferred acid, which seemed to take him out of himself into a better world somehow for a few hours. The next time he saw Dread-locks it was different.

"It's about time you started payin' yer share. kid. It's great sharing wiv you, but it costs. If you wanna go on you'd better ante up."

"I ain't got nuffing. What'll I do?"

"You could always steal something. Or, look here, you could help me get new customers and do a bit pf dealin'."

"How do I set about that?"

"Jist like I did wiv you. A coupla freebies and when they're hooked start chargin'. Here. If ypu want I'll advance four or five shots uv hash, and you can pay me later."

Deng did not find it easy to recruit new kids to the drug scene. He was too much of a loner for that, but he did bring in two new customers for Dread-locks, loners like himself. It did not earn him enough to pay for his own growing habit. With his new recruits he hit a video store and stole tapes while his companions distracted the owner. The three of them spent the proceeds on acid. They became increasingly skilful in petty theft from stores, but still it did not suffice to pay for their drugs.

"What else can we do ter make more lolly?"

"We could allus sell our arses."

"Yerrs! But 'hw do we go about it?"

"Let's ask Dread-locks. He might know."

Dread-locks referred them to another teenager, a few years older, perhaps about 18, who instructed them in the trade.

"I daon't really like this, Deng. It hurts, and I hate being kissed by a bloke."

"Me too, but it does bring in the lolly. Still, I'd sooner steal than sell me arse."

"We may have to do both ter make enough to pay Dread-locks."

Indeed they did. They continued to deal in a minor way, they stole small goods from shops, mainly electronic equipment and tapes, and they occasionally whored. None of them liked the last part, though it soon ceased to hurt. Tricks were in fact few and far between; since they were so obviously under the legal age of consent many potential johns shied away. Thueh was slowly making her way in her profession, despite the double prejudice against her as a women and as an Asian. Muen Ban Sung was more tired than ever, combining class work, which he found easy, with an evening job, which he took more out of pride than from any necessity to earn more money. He continued to take it out on Deng, beating him for every imagined infraction, as well as for the increasingly frequent real ones. Increasingly, Deng took to staying out at night at least in the summer, spending the time on the streets with his friends. Each return resulted in a fresh beating.

The year Deng turned thirteen, Thueh gave her husband a Seiko watch for his birthday. Now she was earning enough for little luxuries of this kind, especially since it seemed she could have no more children. Deng looked at it cynically. She can give that great bullying beast a good watch, but she can't give me any love or affection. Three months later he stole the watch and spent the money on acid. It could not have been anyone else but Deng who stole it; the circumstances were quite clear. Deng received a belting such as he had never had before, so bad that neighbours called the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, but by then it was too late; Deng had disappeared. His parents never saw him again, nor did the school. It was summer, and Deng was sufficiently street savvy to survive in the slums of the East End of London.

* * * * *

Gudrun and I next saw Monica about two months later. The weather had turned cold, but there he was at the same corner of the street as we made our way on foot to a Soho restaurant. Gudrun was wearing a gabardine trench-coat over her scarlet mini-dress and I had on a wool maxi coat over a deep blue sequinned cocktail dress. For once we were not dressed alike, though we were wearing matching ear-rings.

"D'you remember me, Monica?"

"Yerrs. You're that transvestite guy what was here a coupla months agao. What d'you want this time."

"What happened ter Charlie? Did 'h cop it?"

"He's in 'orspital with pneumonia. Silly bugger! He outgh to OD afore the sufferin' gits too bad, but he won't."

"And how abput you? No signs pf AIDS yet?"

"Naah! The doc says I should have a few years yet."

Joe, the big Jamaican pimp, sauntered over. "Here! What you bovvering her for?"

"It’s alright, Joe! It's that TV sho was here last monthf." Monica turned to me, "Give 'im a fiver, ducks."

Joe slowly moved away swinging his arse. Gudrun had been coming slowly closer and now joined me.

"Here! You're not a TV. How come you're with this guy?"

"This is my girl friend, Monica. She 'n' I are getting married soon. I'm not gay, just a transvestite."

"I knew it! I told Cap'n Marjorie--you know, the Sally Anne--that you weren't gay. But I thought the whole bunch pf you was TVs."

"Naah, just me brother and me. We both usually like ter dress the same as our girls." I gestured at my own dress, "Usually, bu' not always! The older woman was me muther. She's a doc and would like ter see you. She may be able to help." My accent seemed to be holding out this time, but not the syntax.

Gudrun spoke up, urgently. "She may really be able to help you."

"Here! Hat's that accent?"

"I am from Sweden, but after we have married Debbie and I will live here, in London."

Monica seemed on edge, perhaps because of Gudrun's foreignness, more likely because of the idea that a woman doctor wanted to interfere in his life.

I fished in my purse. "Here's my mother's card. If you want to see her get in touch." I forsook all pretense at a cockney accent as I heard the Sally Anne tambourine around the corner, and I pressed a ten-pound note into Monica's hand.

"Here, Cap'n Marjorie! This guy says his mum is a doc whp wants to help me. D'ypi think I can trust 'im?"

Captain Marjorie looked at me appraisingly. "Monica is a better judge of people than I am, I suppose. I would not have thought you were a man unless she had told me." She looked at Gudrun uncertainly.

"No!" I shook my head. "Not another transvestite. This is my girl friend from Sweden, we are getting married next month in the Lutheran chapel at Lund University in Sweden. The pastor has agreed to marry us, even though I am a compulsive transvestite."

"Do you really think your mother can help? And how does she come to know about Monica."

"A few weeks ago a party of us went to Convent Garden, to the opera, my mother, Dr. Margaret Williams, my brother who is also a compulsive transvestite, like me, our two girl friends and me. My brother and I were dressed identically to our respective girl friends, and I think Monica here thought we were all transvestites, since I was the only one who actually spoke to her."

"How did you come to speak to her, may I ask?"

"It was just on the spur of the moment. We had just seen one of Mozart's operas which features the part of boy, which is written for a woman's voice. The boy, Cherubino, at one point disguises himself as a girl to escape punishment. Considering my own compulsions I guess I was pondering the paradox of a boy, played by a girl, who disguises himself as a girl during the opera. I saw Monica and decided to ask her about her life as a transvestite prostitute, so different from my own life as a transvestite. I suppose I was curious."

"But where does your mother come into this?"

"As a consultant at St. Ambrose hospital, and with two transvestite sons she has a personal and a professional interest in matters of sexual misorientation. After that chance encounter she made some acute observations on Monica's conditions of life, and felt very sorry for him. She asked us to keep and eye open for him, to tell him she would like to help in her professional capacity."

Gudrun butted in. "I do not know what she can do to help, since Monica has HIV, but at least the information she obtains from her may help others like her."

"I think Mother could help Monica directly in some way. I know she has some ideas about it, but I don't know what. I know Monica is HIV-positive, so any help can only be short-term, but I don't think she really likes this way of life and she can be helped to get out of it." I looked around to see if Joe was within ear-shot. "Anyway, Monica, think about it and get in touch with Mom if you want to. No-one's pushing you."

"God can always help you, child. Accept God and come to the Sally Anne for help. But if you won't accept God, then by all means go to this doctor."

I could see that Monica respected Sally Anne but was not going to accept this foreign God.

"God bless you all." Captain Marjorie proceeded on her way.

"Cor, you did'nt half change you accent to Cap'n Marjorie. You spoke real proper."

"You can speak real proper too, if you give your mind to it, Monica. Not that I'm suggesting that you do, at least not while you're living on the streets, but you could you know."

"Hark at him!"--half-heartedly. Perhaps Monica really was half convinced to come and see Mom.

* * * * *

It was three weeks later that Monica showed up at Mom's clinic. She had shed her night-time prostitute's uniform, but was wearing a black knee-length skirt and tee-shirt, a padded bra showing underneath. In black stockings and low pumps she really looked almost respectable.

"How are you making out, Monica?"

"It's getting horrible cold on the street, Mum. There's not many Johns about, and I ain't earning much lolly."

Mom told me later that her accent was much less pronounced.

"Will you let me help you, Monica?"

"I wish someone would, Mum."

"Has Joe thrown you out."

"Yes, Mum. He said I wasn't earning enough to make it worth his while."

"You could come and live with us for a time, while I help you get your life together. No drugs, though, and I would like to study you."

"Oh, I gave up drugs last year. There's no future in drugs. They just give you a quick high and then you're in the dumps again. You can study me all you like."

"Will you come then?" Monica nodded. "Do you prefer cross-dressing, or are those clothes all you have except for your working clothes?"

"No, I have others. Men's clothes, I mean, but I don't know if Joe will let me fetch 'em. I feel more comfy in women's clothes, but it don't make much difference."

So Monica came to live with us. He was a good as his word; he kept off drugs. Gradually his accent improved. Janet and I took him shopping a few times, paying for everything but letting him choose his own clothes. Mostly they were dresses, generally dark red, green or blue silk, or polyester, quite demure. He bought a few tee-shirts and a couple of denim skirts to pair with them, but also jeans. I found his choice of shoes curious, always ballet pumps with no heels at all, which he wore both when en femme, which was usual, and also when he was dressed as a man.

He had no use for make-up but he did like pretty underwear, however he was dressed on the outside. Mom kept him busy at a variety of tasks, some for her own research, others just domestic. I think we provided him with the loving, caring environment which he had missed during his whole childhood.

One day Mom brought a visitor home to dinner. It was not that we had few visitors, but this was a special one apparently. We were all en femme, Monica included. Mary, my sister, was out with her boy friend and Gudrun and Karen, our girl friends were back in Sweden beginning to plan for our forth-coming weddings.

Hello, boys." Our visitor stared. "I want you all to meet Alan Hemming. He's producing a show in the West End."

We all smiled in welcome. I wondered what Alan Hemming was thinking.

"This is my eldest son, Derek, or Debbie when he's dressed this way." I was wearing a turquoise cotton dress, with a fitted bodice and flaring skirt. My hair was dressed and I had my face on, but I was wearing mules.

"And this is Janet, or Johnny, whichever you please. He's my younger son." Janet had on a simple shift in old gold cotton. She too was wearing mules.

"And finally, here is the young man I mentioned to you, Monica, or Deng Ban Sung." Monica looked stunning, with her long hair set off against her long simple dark maroon dress, quite unfitted, looking almost like a classical Chinese dress.

"Can I get you a drink, sir?"

"Scotch and soda, please, Debbie."

"You, Mom?"

"The same, thank you Debbie."

We sat and chatted inconsequentially over drinks. Monica and I had prepared dinner, and it was now in the oven. When the timer rang I ushered everyone into the dining room.

Part way through dinner, Mom said, "I invited Alan here to see Monica. He is casting the road company for M. Butterfly, a play whose West End production opens this weekend."

"In two months' time we shall send out a road company to tour the country while the play is running in London. We used to wait at least a year before we toured a play, but now we find we do better to start the touring company soon after the play opens in the West End. Everyone has read the reviews and not yet forgotten it."

"What's the play about?"

"It's based on a true story of a French diplomat who fell in love with a dancer at the Beijing Opera. He had an affair with this dancer going on for several years, never realizing that the object of his affection was actually a man."

"He must have been a nut."

"It was worse. His lover was an intelligence agent, and he betrayed many secrets to her. When he was finally arrested she turned on him and proved she was really a man all the time. It's a lot more complicated than that, but that's the gist of it."

"I've seen rehearsals, and I think it’s a great play, Alan. Monica, I thought you would be perfect for the part of the Chinese dancer. I know you are a good actor, though you don't realize it yourself. What do you think, Alan, now that you've observed her?"

"My first impression is good, but I would have to see her in audition before I could be sure. I freely confess that I am having trouble finding anyone."

Janet and I went with Monica to the audition. She wowed them. Three months later the tour opened in Reading, and then travelled all over the country to critical acclaim. Eighteen months later, now billed over the title of the play in her full Vietnamese name, she took over the part in the West End production, which was becoming a little jaded by now. Her performance revivified the whole production, and actors who had merely been going through their lines by rote, woke up and acted again.

Monica's last few years of life, before she died of AIDS, were a triumph for her and a vindication of Mom. Her funeral was attended by all the stars of the West End.



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