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Flambé’s Education Continues. Danny Gets Drunk Again

Esther had had her sex reassignment surgery in Mexico, in a clinic in Monterrey. The total cost, some $22,500, included the initial consultations and the actual cost of surgery and anesthesia, as well as ten days of post-operative nursing care, medications, and all ground transportation, as well as a one-week stay in a local hotel.

“Yeah, it’s a lot of money,” Esther told Flambé, “but if I’d had it done in the States, it would easily have been double that.” Esther had been lucky; she experienced few complications from the procedure. About one-third of patients suffer from complications, mainly a narrowing of the urethra, which makes urination difficult. Many also have post-operative infections. Psychological problems can plague patients, Esther warned Flambé. “But I more or less sailed through everything.”

Flambé couldn’t wait to ask the ultimate question. “So, uh, how long—I mean, did you–?” Esther saw her stammering, knew exactly what was happening.

“It was four months before I could have penetrative sex.” She let that sink into Flambé’s mind.

“And what—how–?”

Esther took her friend’s hand. “Let me tell you, sister, because it’s a good story.”

Within three months of the surgery, Esther was pain-free. Everything seemed to be working just as her doctors had forecast. They had lined her neo-vagina with her old penile sheath, turned inside out and inserted into her body, a drastic-sounding procedure, to be sure, but simple in its functionality. The sheath lost none of its sensitivity; orgasm could be reached, with all the accompanying physical feelings.

In fact, thirteen weeks after surgery, Esther had masturbated herself, using a dildo she’d bought at L’Amour Shoppe, an adult store in downtown Oakland. She did this very slowly and carefully. “I didn’t want to break anything,” she explained, “but I needed to know.” The experiment was a complete success. It was a thrilling vindication of what Esther had done. A few weeks later, after repeated masturbation, she was ready to move beyond self-stimulation to the real thing. It finally happened on a weekend night, with a young man she met at a downtown club.

Flambé took this all in with captivated interest. This was the stuff she’d wondered about all her adult life—something that had seemed so fantastical, so beyond the realm of probability that all it could ever amount to was an unfulfilled fantasy. And yet, Esther—just an ordinary girl—had made the fantasy come true. And now, Esther told her, she—Esther—fully enjoyed sexual relations with men. It was true, Esther added, ironically, that she found herself gravitating towards women for sexual pleasure, but that didn’t detract from the sublime fact that her neo-vagina was in perfect working order.

Flambé felt like she was walking on clouds. At Devon’s that night, nestled beside him in bed, as he slept she crept a hand to her still-intact penis, and began sliding the foreskin slowly up and down the hardening shaft. As her passion built she inclined her face into Devon’s back, kissed him on the neck, breathed heavily and with a gasp came onto her own belly. Devon never awoke as she whispered, “Oh, my God, my angel, how I want you inside my cunt.”

* * *

At Bay Grape they were pouring rosé Champagne. Nick and Danny sat at the bar and, after a little small talk with Josiah, the proprietor, they resumed the conversation about Cindy and the baby. Danny knew he’d been drinking too much lately; the pressures of work and in his personal life drove him increasingly to a few extra glasses of wine or bottles of beer at night. There were frequent times when all he wanted was to zone out, to numb himself and succumb to deep, blissful sleep. He saw nothing wrong with this.

And so he got very drunk. They kept reordering Champagne; the bubbles went straight to Danny’s brain and made him gay and talkative. Nick slowed down at the fifth glass; not Danny. “I don’t know,” he said to Nick at some point, slurring his words, “maybe you’re right, maybe it’d be cool to have a kid, you know what I mean? Hey Josiah, another round! Like, a kid can be fun. I’d like to be the kind of dad who brings his kid to the park to throw a football around.”

“Your kid,” Nick observed, “might be a girl.”

“I don’t think so,” Danny replied. “I just have a feeling. Hey Josiah, another!”

And so it went. By ten that night, Danny was in no shape to drive back to Castro Valley, so Nick invited him to sleep it off at the Perkins Street flat. He, Nick, would call Cindy to tell her. Danny fell asleep the minute his head hit the couch. When he woke up, with a pounding headache, the next morning to drive home, his Camry had a $185 parking ticket. It was street-cleaning day on Perkins.

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