‘SET YOUR FM DIAL for 34.5 for the best in radio listening. Remember, it’s FM for fun . . . be treated to the latest in swinging music on Station FIMP . . . music to wake up to or go to sleep by, folks . . .’
Riki rolled over on a well-oiled tummy and flipped the switch on the transistor.
Music to go to sleep by, my eye. Why go to sleep in the middle of a gorgeous afternoon on a sun drenched, deserted beach?
‘Aw . . . did you have to turn it off. Miss? I sure was enjoyin’ that there purty music!’ A tall well-built youth arose from the grassy dunes some thirty feet away and approached the startled Riki, who hastily covered up with a towel.
‘Sorry if I scared you. Ma’am.’ With long strides he came closer and sank down in the sand beside Riki. ‘I’ve been laying back there in the tall grass, just listening to yore radio and lookin at you. You sure are purty. Ma’am.’
His broad smile was engaging and Riki grinned back, in spite of a fleeting annoyance at having the beautiful solitude so rudely broken.
On an impulse, Riki pushed the transistor toward him. ‘Here. Why don’t you borrow it for awhile? I’m sick of the darn thing.’
He shook his head and his blond curls fell down over his tanned brow. ‘Oh no Ma’am. Thank you kindly, but I couldn’t do that. Anyways, I’d rather just set here close to you. You SURE are purty, I wanta tell you!’
Riki pulled the towel closer to cover the wide expanses of rosy flesh between the top and bottom of an extremely scanty bikini. Obviously this guy was a real hick who just didn’t know any better. His Southern drawl was a give-away. He probably didn’t even know that this kind of a pass might get him a slap in the face from most girls.
But then, Riki wasn’t most girls! Not by a long shot. It might be fun to lead this square on a little. Just for kicks. With a coy glance, Riki let the towel slip down to expose part of one sun-tinted swell of flesh.
‘You haven’t had much experience with girls, have you. Mister?’ Riki’s voice was a low, husky purr. Five carefully enamelled little toes crept out from a towel, followed by a slender ankle and smoothly tanned calf.
‘N – n – no Ma’am. I ain’t.’ He blushed furiously, eyes glued to the curvy leg. ‘How could you tell. Ma’am?’
Riki fell back on the sand, letting the towel droop to one side – and causing the youth to turn even redder. ‘Because you’re so frank. If you knew anything about women, you’d know better than to tell them the truth.’ The round toes pointed. ‘Hand me those shoes over there, will you?’
The boy groped in the sand and withdrew two sandals with lacy straw vamps and tall wooden spike heels. He stared at them in awe. ‘Gosh. Ma’am. Do you really wear these here purty things?’
‘Of course. You may put them on for me, big boy.’ Riki smiled down at his still scarlet face. This was fun, teasing like a typical flirt. But it had better not go too far. This one really was a ‘big boy.’ As big as a full-back. It wouldn’t do to get him too excited. But Riki had to admit that for such a muscle-man, his touch was as gentle as a woman’s.
He slipped the spike heeled sandals onto Riki’s dainty feet like an expert shoe salesman.
‘What’s your name, big boy? We might as well get acquainted as long as you plan to stay.’
‘Uh . . . that is my name ma’am. Big Boy. I thought maybe you just knew it, the way you said it. Course that’s not my real name. But it’s what everybody back home calls me.’ Big Boy’s huge fingers gently massaged the dainty instep and worked their way up Riki’s firm calf.
‘Hey! Cut that out!’ Riki sat up quickly and jabbed one spiked heel into his thigh. It seemed to have little effect – he was wearing thick faded denims. The hand continued its upward journey and was soon caressing one dimpled knee. Before Riki could squirm away, the mate to the hand was stroking the mate to the knee.
A tremor of terror went thru Riki’s body. This had to be handled carefully. ‘Stop it! If you don’t, you’ll be sorry, believe me!’ Riki’s voice rose to a shrill pitch.
Big Boy moved closer, obviously unperturbed by his victim’s panic. In fact, it seemed to amuse him. He leaned close and grinned down into Riki’s upturned face.
‘You ain’t had much experience with men, have you honey?’ His tone mocked Riki’s previous remarks.
He wrapped one huge hand around Riki’s throat and with the other began to knead the flat belly. He sniffed Riki’s long auburn tresses. ‘Don’t be afraid, honey,’ he breathed in Riki’s ear. ‘I won’t hurt you. Not as long as you keep quiet and don’t try to get away!’
The game would soon be over and Riki knew it. ‘Let – me – go – you – big – ape! I’m – not – what – you – think –’ The words came out haltingly as the fingers around Riki’s neck tightened.
‘I told you not to worry, honey,’ Big Boy whispered gruffly. ‘I’m not gonna rape you or anything like that. You’re so PURTY I just wanta touch you. That’s all.’
Tears of fright and helplessness rolled down Riki’s cheeks and one false eyelash loosened. It fell onto Big Boy’s hand. He chuckled and blew it off into the sand. ‘You city gals sure do wear some silly things. First time I ever saw pasted-on eyelashes!’
‘That’s – not – all – that – fake –’ Riki gasped.
Big Boy’s strangle-hold relaxed. ‘Wal, don’t be embarrassed, honey. I reckon everybody has secrets. Even me. He put his mouth close to Riki’s ear again. ‘Wanna know my secret, honey?’
Riki nodded dumbly. Anything to keep him from going further with whatever he had in mind.
His breath was hot on the nape of Riki’s slender neck. Beads of sweat dripped from his bronzed cheeks. ‘You’ll never believe this, honey, but I swear it’s the truth. You see. I’m really a GIRL.’
Big Boy let Riki go. The limp, bikini-clad form fell back onto the sandy towel. Big Boy was shaking with spasm of laughter. ‘He’ slapped his muscular thighs in great glee.
Riki started, wide-eyed. ‘I don’t believe it!’
‘Well, honey, it’s the truth,’ Big Boy muttered, becoming suddenly serious. ‘All my life, people called me ‘Big Boy’ – but I’m sure enough a girl. Got two young uns to prove it.’
Riki continued to stare in amazement. ‘Then why – why did you put on this act and scare me half out of my mind? You’re not – you’re not – well, you know?’ The terror began to show in Riki’s mascara streaked eyes again.
Big Boy chuckled. ‘You mean some kind of freak? No, honey. I’m really sorry I made you upset. It’s a long story, if you wanta hear it.’
Riki pulled out a cigarette and offered the pack to Big Boy. ‘Please, do tell all. I’m more interested than you could know!’
Big Boy took the proffered weed and lit it, slowly puffing. ‘Wal, it all started after Joe, my husband, went and got himself killed drivin’ my pick-up truck. Guess some folks might say our life was a mite peculiar, but it suited us just fine. And back home nobody seemed to care. Just took us for granted.’
‘You see, honey, cause I’m such a big strappin critter and Joe was a kinda skinny runt of a fella, we sorta switched places.’
Riki frowned, puzzled. ‘I don’t get it. But first. I’m still not convinced you’re really a woman!’
‘Wal since there’s just us gals here. I’ll show you, honey.’ Big Boy’s clear blue eyes swept the deserted beach. The half burned weed was cast aside. The strong sinewy hands jerked at the faded denim shirt, baring two perfectly formed, tho somewhat small, breasts!
It was Riki’s turn to blush. ‘Please – button your shirt. Now I believe you!’
Grinning, Big Boy slipped the button back into place. ‘As I was sayin, me an Joe did the opposite of most couples. That is, he stayed home mostly and minded the kids, cleaned up round the farm, cooked. Darn tasty meals, too.’
‘I ran the farm, bossed the hired help. We had a right nice vegetable farm and raised chickens, too. I usta take the produce into the farmer’s market every day in the pick-up truck. You gettin bored, honey?’
Riki blew out a spiral of cigarette smoke, smiling faintly. ‘No, Big Boy. I’m not bored. Not at all. In fact. I’m downright fascinated. Please, continue!’
Big Boy’s eyes became misty. ‘Then, one day I was taken sick with the measles. Caught it from Junior. So Joe, he up and takes the pick-up truck to the market. Joe never could drive so good.’
She wiped her eyes on her rolled-up sleeve.’ Next thing I knew, I was standin’ by pore Joe’s grave, my face all covered with measles spots. Nobody in that whole town came to the funeral – cause of my spots.’
Riki leaned across the towel and patted Big Boy’s sturdy thigh. ‘I’m sorry. You don’t have to tell me the rest if you don’t want to.’
Big Boy managed a small grin. ‘Aw, you’re sweet, honey. Somehow – don’t take this wrong, now – somehow, you kinda remind me of my Joe. He was, wal, gentle like you.’
Riki’s voice was husky with strange compassion. ‘Thank you. Big Boy. That’s a true compliment.’
‘Wal, the rest of my story is purty short. After Joe died, everything went wrong. The ’surance folks wouldn’t pay for the truck, cause the accident was his fault. He’d run over a prize cow belongin to a right nasty neighbour down the road apiece. That neighbour sued me for just about all our savins to pay for that cow. Then, I got complicashuns from the measles spots and went to the hospital. Had to hire a nurse for the younguns. The hired hands stole everything they could tote and took off. To top it all, we had a drought and the vegetables died, and a brush fire burned down the whole place. We was lucky to get out alive.’
Riki was close to tears, too. Silly – but true. This corn story could be heard any afternoon on soapbox TV. So why should a sophisticated, glamorous ‘critter’ like Riki Rousseau be affected by this hillbillie’s sad tale?
Riki’s buddies back at the Club FM would snicker if they knew. The Star of the Big City’s most publicised niterie, the doll who wowed ’em every evening with torchy songs and slinky gowns – the fabulous Riki R – close to tears over a yokel’s sob story? Ridiculous! Maybe . . .
But true! Riki felt a genuine throb of pity – and something more, perhaps, for this gorgeous hunk of humanity’s sad plight. Funny, but Riki had begun to think of Big Boy as gorgeous. In spite of the revelation that ‘he’ was really a ‘she.’ Or – perhaps because of it?
Thoughtfully, Riki ground out the cigarette in the sand. Maybe the fabulous Riki R was in need of a psychiatrist! ‘Please finish your story, Big Boy. I really do want to know how you ended up – here.’
‘Wal, it just goes to show you that, like my Mama usta say, things look darkest before the dawn. Just when I was ’bout ready to turn myself over to the relief board and put Junior and Janie in the orphan home, everything got better!’
Big Boy grinned and pushed a shock of corn-silk yellow hair out of her eyes. ‘It was real crazy, ma’am. You probably won’t believe what happened!’
Riki grinned back into the whole-set blue eyes. ‘I’ll believe it. After this day I’d believe anything. Now c’mon and finish the story, for heaven’s sake!’
‘I’m just not the kind that let’s things get me down, ma’am. So, stead of takin rat poison or somethin, I just took the young uns by the hand and walked three miles to town and sat us down in the ice cream parlour. Back home we got a right fancy Main Street. Peabody’s Ice Cream Parlour is real elegant. Expensive, too. Costs close to two dollars just to get banana splits for three.
‘So, I sets us down and orders the works. Figgered I’d blow the last dime. Warn’t nothin that’d do us any good for payin off the mortgage on the farm or buildin a new house, anyways.
‘Wal, there’s this here City Slicker setting at the counter, lookin bored. Drinkin COFFEE, of all things. Coffee, when you can order a delicious ice cream soda for the same price.
‘I mentioned that to the young uns, in a kinda whisper. Fore I could stop her, that little devil Janie runs over to this City fella and says, “My Momma thinks you’re crazy. Mister. Cause you got coffee, when you coulda got a super duper ice cream soda for the same price!”’
‘This City fella pats Janie on the head and looks over at me. He kinda stars. “Your Momma said that, little girl?” he says. “Where’s your Momma? You mean your Papa, don’t you?”’
‘Janie shakes her curls and her little cheeks have dimples. She looks most purty as you, ma’am. “That’s my Momma.” she says, and points at me. This gentleman takes Janie by the hand and brings her over to our table.
‘”Sir,” he says, “You’d better straighten out this young lady about your – ah – who you are. She thinks you’re her Momma.”’
‘I sat up straight and stuck my chest out. “I am her Momma, suh,” I told him. Wal, ma’am, that’s how I got here.’
Riki’s look was more puzzled than ever. ‘But – you still haven’t told me. What did this “city fella” have to do with your getting here?’
‘Oh, I almost forgot the best part,’ Big Boy began to laugh loudly again. ‘You wouldn’t believe it! This man, he offered me one hundred dollars a week just to come to the Big City and pretend I’m a man! Imagine that, if you can! So – he paid for everything. A camp for Junior and Janie, a room for me in the city, our bus fare up here, all of it – he said he’s a talent scout for that there radio station you had on. Station FIMP. All I hafta do is sing a song at this here cafe he’s got, once a nite. And some nites – guess what? I’ll be on the radio!’
Riki sat up straight as an arrow, eyes blazing, auburn hair flying in the ocean breeze. ‘Was that radio talent scout short and bald?’
Big Boy nodded yes.
‘Was he wearing a loud checked jacket?’ Big Boy nodded. ‘And smoking a big black cigar?’ Another nod.
Riki’s voice rose to a shrill angry pitch. ‘That s –! Was his name Marty?’
Big Boy nodded again.
‘Now, I’ll tell you the rest!’ Riki’s voice and eyes were all but shooting sparks. ‘Marty, that great kind wonderful benefactor – sent you out here to the beach today. Right? Right! I’ll bet I can even quote his parting words. Wanna bet?’
Big Boy shook her head, not comprehending.
‘Well, I’ll tell you anyway!’ In Riki’s angry outburst, the towel had fallen aside, forgotten.
Big Boy stared, bug-eyed with admiration, at Riki’s curvy slender body. Riki leaned forward, unaware that the scanty bikini top had slipped and that one pink foam rubber falsie was spilling out, dangling precariously on the bit of colourful cloth.
‘Here what that louse Marty told you: he said “put on the clothes of the opposite sex and get out there on the beach. Pretend you’re a woman” (in your case he probably said “pretend you’re a man”). When you said suppose someone comes along, he said, “Great! See if you can fool them!” Right? Isn’t that what he said?’
Big Boy scratched her head in bewilderment. ‘Right, ma’am, but – how did you know? Are you a gypsy fortune teller?’
Riki giggled. ‘No. Nothing like that. I’m just a guy who works for station FIMP and club FM. And Marty.’
With a defiant swoop Riki pulled off the bra and the auburn wig and the one remaining false eyelash. He wiped away the mascara and lipstick with the edge of the beach towel and extended a slim hand to Big Boy.
‘Looks like we’re going to be co-workers, gorgeous. May as well be friends, too!’
Big Boy’s grin became the widest ever. ‘That’s fine by me, ma’am – er – suh – er – buddy?’ He covered the dainty hand with his own tremendous one.
Riki jumped to his feet with a lithe grace. ‘Just call me Riki, Big Boy . . . now that I think of it, that Marty might not be such a louse after all!’
‘He knew I was lonely. He always kept telling me he was gonna find me a partner – one I might even hitch up with permanently. That sly rascal! He probably planned this whole thing!’
With unspoken consent, the professional female impersonator and novice male mimic gathered up Riki’s beach paraphernalia, and hand-in-hand walked towards the dunes. Back to civilisation. Spurts of sound from the transistor drifted across the deepening shadows of sand and surf. ‘Don’t forget, folks, set your radio for Station FIMP – remember, dial FM for FUNnnnnn . . .
This short story was originally published in 1965, in the seventh issue of Female Mimics, the first glossy publication to focus on crossdressing. Back-issues of the magazine are available here, in the collection of the Digital Transgender Archive.