A Step in the Possible Wrong Direction
It was the next day and Max Pine nervously watched the clock. He hoped the transgender cartoonist would not return, but a few minutes before he was set to close the gallery, she walked in.
“Hi, hi, hi there,” Christine LaBrush cheerfully sang as she swiftly approached the counter. “I’m back with some new drawings. Would you like to see them?”
“Not really. I’m about to close.”
“But you said you would.”
“All right then, what do you have?”
Christine carefully pulled the new comic strips out of her portfolio case and spread them out on the counter.
Max put on his groovy glasses and intently looked over the new work. He immediately saw something that greatly upset him.
“Hey, is that supposed to be me?”
“Yes, it is. Pretty good, huh? I think it is a fabulous likeness of you.”
“But you’ve drawn me as being in odd sexual positions with, with… You!”
“And why is that squirrel watching us?”
“Isn’t that a nice touch? Look, he’s got nuts in his mouth!”
“There’s no way in hell I’m displaying this in my gallery,” Max snapped.
“Why not? I think it’s totally awesome.”
“It’s inappropriate and highly offensive… And besides, I’m not queer like that!”
“It has nothing to do with being queer, and besides, I don’t believe that for one second. I think you’re very queer.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Do you have a girlfriend?” Christine asked.
“And how long has it been since you’ve been with an actual woman?”
“That’s none of your damn business!”
“You are so snippy!”
“I think you should leave.”
“Wait. I have a proposition for you.”
“I doubt that I would be interested.”
“Just hear me out.”
“What is it then, eh?”
Christine looked around the place and then got close to Max’s face.
“I’m not dumb. I know you dig it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I have a whole bunch of cocaine packed up nice and tight right here between my intelligent breasts and you can have it all in exchange for one night of hot love in the sack and a place for my dirty comics on a wall in your gallery.”
Max’s mind started salivating at the prospect of getting some blow. It’s been a while. He had thought he had gotten over it, pushed the addiction to the back of his mind, but now it has opened the door just a crack and peeked out — peeked out from between Christine LaBrush’s giant boobs.
How bad could it be?” he started to rationalize in his own brain. I’ll just close my eyes and pretend he’s a girl. No wait! He is a girl! What am I thinking? This is beyond even me!
“Let me see the goods,” Max suddenly demanded.
Christine began to unbutton her blouse.
“No, no, no. Not those goods! The dope, baby.”
Christine retrieved two eight balls wrapped in plastic from her bosom slot and threw them down on the counter.
“That’s about $400 worth of blow, buddy. It’s good stuff, too. Blow for blow. How ’bout it?”
Max stared at the dope. He wanted it so bad. He reached out to touch it, but Christine snatched it away.
“No, no, no. First things first.”
Christine came around the counter to where Max was standing. She got down on her knees and undid Max’s pants and let them fall around his ankles. She reached in, pulled it out, and went, “Wowza!”
Max relaxed on the bed beside her and smoked a ciggy wiggy.
“Where are you from, anyways?” he asked her.
She snuggled up closer to him.
“Bakersfield, California,” she answered.
“That’s a fine town. Reminds me of a big Roswell.”
“Roswell? Roswell, New Mexico or Roswell, Georgia?”
“That’s where I had my operation. Operations.”
“Yes. There’s a ranch hidden deep within a big, old pecan orchard there. They do really strange stuff with people and robots and animals and aliens.”
“Why didn’t you go to a regular clinic?”
“I was desperate and didn’t have the money for a proper makeover. This was a full-blown underground and dark operation.”
“Are you sure they got everything in the proper place?”
“You tell me, baby. So, what’s your connection to that fascinating, far out place?”
“I used to live there,” Max explained. “I taught creative puppeteering for the school district until I got in trouble for assaulting a minister.”
“Why on earth would you do that?”
“His damn kid was in my class and this boy really, I mean really, sucked at puppeteering. I mean his voice was all wrong, he was always moving his lips like a big goof, and he just didn’t have any damn coordination. Let me tell you, it takes a bit of coordination to work a puppet. Anyways, the preacher father was always giving me grief because I wouldn’t put his shitty kid in any of the shows we had. One night he came backstage and started bitching at me and I had enough of his harassment and punched him right in the face.”
“That’s wild, baby.”
“Well, they fired me after that, and I wandered a bit and then ended up in Mankato, Minnesota running the Fist Gallery. So, do you mind me asking why you did it?”
“You know. Trade in the yarbles for a taco salad.”
“That’s a bit insensitive.”
“Well, I’m king of the insensitives. But honestly, it’s a bit of a train wreck down there.”
Christine suddenly threw the covers off and stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door. Max grudgingly climbed out of the bed and lightly tapped on the door.
“Hey, I’m sorry. Don’t mind what I say, it was stupid. Why don’t you come out of there and we’ll finish up this blow.”
Christine opened the door and brushed past him. She picked her clothes up off the floor and began to dress.
“Are you leaving?” Max asked.
“Yes, I am you bastard. I can’t believe you said that. Don’t you realize I am already emotionally compromised? A little support and compassion would be nice.”
“Look, I’m a degenerate cokehead with a penchant for Swedish meatballs and sometimes I can be just plain mean. My appypolly loggies, but this is pretty damn weird for me too.”
Christine wiped at the tears running down her face and looked at him.
“Can you do something for me then?”
“Go on the bus with me to Minneapolis and have dinner with my parents.”
“Look, they’re really freaking out about me being a woman now and think that I will never have a normal life ever again. If I show them that I’m in a serious relationship, maybe they will be a bit cooler with the whole situation.”
“But we’re not in a serious relationship,” Max pointed out.
“You can at least pretend to be. I’ll get you more drugs.”
“I’ll do it,” Max promptly pronounced, and he wrapped his arms around faux Christine, hugged her tightly and then kissed her.
TO BE CONTINUED