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Reluctant Press Novelette Cover

All he wanted was a job and a place to live. That’s not much to ask for when times are good. When they’re bad, however, difficult choices have to be made. A local production of “The Birdcage” needs another chorus girl and with no actual women available, he takes the job, even though it will require being in drag onstage.

From there, things begin to accelerate. A cast member takes the not-overly-tall man under her wing, and puts him on the road to full feminization. She invites him to live with her in the fancy apartment she enjoys as the kept “woman” of a wealthy man with very specific tastes in the company he keeps. Almost without realizing what’s happening to him, our hapless hero is transformed by the beautiful Rosalind into her “sister.”

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    ‘‘I’ve only just summoned the courage to call you,’’ she said. ‘‘I’d love to see you again. I can’t get you out of my mind. I know I was behaving like a real bitch at the end of the tour and I wanted to say that I’m sorry.’’

    ‘‘You don’t have to apologise,’’ I replied. ‘‘I guess we were all under stress at the end of the run.’’

    ‘‘I was sad when it ended, although I’d only been there for a while.’’ Rosalind’s voice was softer than I remembered. ‘‘I was lucky though. I got a job in a drag revue almost at once.’’

    ‘‘That was what you wanted.’’

    ‘‘I know. I’ve been a girl ever since. You should see me now.’’

    ‘‘That would be good,’’ I replied. ‘‘But I’m struggling right now. I haven’t got anything and I’m waiting tables, hoping that I won’t be evicted anytime soon.’’

    ‘‘That’s awful.’’ I could hear her gasp. ‘‘I could get you a job here, but you’d have to drag up.’’

    ‘‘I’m not a female impersonator,’’ I replied. ‘‘I know I was in the chorus when we were doing Birdcage but I only got that job because I was small and had long hair.’’

    ‘‘I think you’d be able to look really good and convincing if you’d let yourself do it,’’ she said. ‘‘I could help you. I think I owe you for being so horrible.’’

    ‘‘I’ll think about it,’’ I said, intending to do nothing of the sort, but I didn’t want to upset her.

    ‘‘Call me if you want me to,’’ she said.