Looking for Hope
By Dawn DeWinter
Chapter 3 - All Must Have Prizes
"You're still dripping wet, dear child. How are we going to dry you off?"
"Open the windows wide. We'll go even faster. I'll get blow-dried."
The strategy seemed to work ... for Dawn. Poor Mortimer was, however, so frightened by their high velocity that he began to babble: "George Washington was, you know, whipped badly in most of his early battles; but he persevered until he won the big one. Theodore Roosevelt was a puny runt when he was a kid, yet he led the charge up San Juan Hill. And his cousin Franklin inspired this nation to victory in World War II while restricted to a wheelchair."
"That's nice," replied Dawn, who couldn't see his point any better than Mortimer could see the road. "As for Abraham Lincoln," Mortimer continued, "he'd go to Civil War battlefields to urge his generals to fight. John F. Kennedy was in constant pain from his war wounds, and Andrew Jackson used to spit blood during his presidential speeches."
Mortimer went on like this for several minutes before Dawn finally asked, "What's the lecture about, Mr. Raton? Does it have a moral?"
"Why certainly it does, dear child. I was just thinking about all the courageous presidents we've had."
"That's nice. But what's that to us? There is no one around like that today."
"No, you're wrong about that, Dawn. It takes a lot of courage these days just to have everyone know where you live. It takes guts to live in the White House, guts I wish I had."
"You're more courageous than you think you are, Mr. Raton. Aren't you speeding along state highway 202 with a total stranger? That takes guts. You're no wimp. I just know you'll stick with me until I find Hope. She's the friend I'm looking for."
"You know I'll stand by you, Dawn. You're like a granddaughter to me."
Actually, he was barely old enough to be her father, but Dawn kept him in the dark about her true age by periodically smudging his eyeglasses.
"Dawn, that's so formal. Please call me Mortimer or, if you like, grandy."
"Mortimer, do you think we could stop somewhere so I could get some toiletries. I must look a fright. I lost my purse; so I am going to need everything. I even need, blush, a fresh pair of panties."
"Sure, Dawn, it will be my pleasure. We'll get whatever you need."
When the car came screeching to a stop in the K-Mart parking lot, Dawn suggested that she go into the store alone, for, as she said, it would be embarrassing to buy private "girl stuff" with a man hanging about. In fact, she didn't want any of the sales staff to reveal her true age and sex to Mortimer. It was sweet that he thought Dawn a sixteen-year-old girl. Why disillusion him?
Once in the store with Mortimer's money clip, Dawn looked for the handsomest salesman she could find. She saw him from below as he stood on a ladder to put some stock on a top shelf. A curly-haired blond, he was in his late teens and Dawn could see from the shape and tone of his buttocks that he worked out with weights. She patted him on his back pocket to get his attention. Startled, he almost fell off the ladder, but Dawn held him steady, one hand pulling on his back pocket, the other propping him up at the crotch.
The salesman eased down the ladder very, very slowly, for he assumed a young lady was feeling him up. Well, not exactly a lady. But by a female in any case. By the time he was on terra firma and looking into Dawn's eyes, he was visibly aroused. "Ah miss," he said, "what can I do for you? Do you need to be served?"
"I'm always ready to be served." She looked for his nametag. It read, "Frodo."
"Frodo? That's a joke, right? That can't be your real name."
His face frowned. "Yes, it's my real name, but I wish it wasn't. My parents were big fans of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings when I was born. So they called me Frodo. I guess it could have been worse. It could have been Gandalf."
"But Frodo's the perfect name for you," Dawn gushed, "because he's such a cute little hobbit. And you're about as cute as they come."
Frodo blushed, his face deepening into scarlet as Dawn's hand flicked across his chin. As her tongue wetted her lips, and her eyes bored into his, Frodo looked away in confusion. Never before had an older woman come onto him so hungrily. His fantasies came into play. "Maybe," Frodo speculated, "I'll get laid at last."
He realized that he'd be soon creaming his black jeans if he didn't get his mind off sex, and so Frodo asked, "What is it that you want to buy? Our prices are very good."
"Whatever your price is, honey, I'm willing to pay it."
As Frodo stared at her with blank incomprehension, Dawn decided to do some shopping. She figured that she'd have lots of opportunity for sexual innuendo if Frodo accompanied her around the store. But he was likely, she feared, to do a funk if she asked for help with feminine toiletries. So she took a big gamble. Actually, it wasn't that big a gamble, for if Frodo turned and ran like a scared little boy she hadn't lost very much. And if he remained interested after he'd learned her little secret, then she'd hit the jackpot.
"I need some shaving cream and a man's razor," Dawn said, just pausing along for Frodo to look more closely at her chin before adding, "They're for my brother. He's a hairy beast, you know."
Frodo couldn't help but notice that Dawn needed a shave. For some reason, her stubble turned him on. He wasn't sure why. Possibly the hair made her earthier. This was, Frodo hoped, a woman who was up for almost anything. Maybe this was the day that he'd realize two of his fantasies: Not only would he lose his virginity but he'd get his first blowjob.
When they got to the men's shaving section, Frodo - with a little encouragement from Dawn - bent over to get a can of Gillette foamy. Dawn's hands were suddenly all over his buttocks and groin. There was no one with a view down their aisle as Frodo wheeled about to take Dawn into his arms. Frodo ejaculated into his plaid cotton boxers as their tongues met.
After they had explored each other's mouth for another five minutes, Dawn decided to share her little secret: "Frodo, I am not quite what I seem," she mumbled as she freed her mouth from his.
"What do you mean?" he gasped. "You seem perfect to me. My shift ends in fifteen minutes and I want to take you somewhere where we can make endless love together."
"Frodo, I'm heading to New Hope, and I want you to go with me. I will teach you all the positions of the Khama Sutra. I will teach you all the secrets of the orgasm. I will make you one of the world's great lovers." It was a good speech, but a trifle misleading since only one man had ever described Dawn as the best sex he'd ever had, and he was a necrophiliac. Even so, Frodo was too naïve to know that Dawn had as much zest in bed as a peeled lemon.
"I'll definitely go with you to New Hope," Frodo exclaimed, "provided you promise to spend the entire night making love with me."
"I promise," said Dawn, as she added under her breath, "until I fall asleep" - which was usually about fifteen minutes after her head hit the pillow. "There is one little thing you need to know, however, before you get into my car. First, it belongs to an elderly gent named Mortimer."
"You're not sleeping with him, are you?" Frodo asked with some alarm.
"Heaven's no. He'll sit in the back while we cuddle together on the bench seat in front."
"That's okay by me. I've long fantasized about being an exhibitionist. But you said there were two little things I had to know about you and the car. What's your last little secret? You're not married, are you?"
Dawn put her hands on Frodo's haunches and pulled him toward her. He was straining to have his body enter hers - through several layers of clothes - as she whispered, "I'm actually a guy - a guy in women's clothes." Then she plunged her tongue down his throat, stifling his reply. For a while Frodo struggled frantically, first for breath, then to free himself from Dawn's bear hug. But his efforts gradually ceased as he surrendered to his fate. This was the day chosen for Frodo to lose his virginity. Who said he had to lose it to a genetic girl? Frodo decided that Dawn was woman enough for him. Besides, she'd whispered in his ear that she planned to teach him the joys of oral sex.
As Frodo watched Dawn's butt wiggle on her way to women's toiletries and lingerie, he decided he also wanted her to teach him something about anal sex. Frodo approved of her purchases in the teen department - he actually admired her little-girl look - but he liked the sheer red nylon negligee best. That she'd had bought in the most adult department of the store. As he watched Dawn buy the most intimate of feminine necessities, Frodo almost forgot that she was male. "I'll just close my eyes at key moments," Frodo said to himself, "and it will be like going to bed with Goldie Hawn."
Mortimer was far from pleased to learn that Frodo was accompanying them to New Hope. They gave each other a questioning look and then a limp handshake. However, Mortimer's spirits lifted when he learned that Dawn wanted Frodo to do the driving. "Thank god for little mercies," Mortimer thought, "at least we'll get to New Hope in one piece." Frodo drove so carefully, even gingerly, that Mortimer actually fell asleep in the back seat, blissfully unaware that Frodo's mind was not on his driving. Dawn's head was in his lap.
Thoroughly distracted, Frodo didn't notice the first two cars race by. The third caught his attention, however, for its driver - a boy about his own age - was challenging him to a road race. Frodo rose to the challenge, with the result that Dawn almost gagged. Frodo was a big boy for his age. Dawn ended up fellating the gearshift after Frodo shifted to racing form.
They ended up racing three other cars - all of them Ford Fairlanes - down route 202. As the lead car would slow down to let the others catch up, it was impossible to say who'd actually been the fastest. All that was known for certain was that the car would need another carwash after Mortimer vomited twice on the exterior rear door. When Frodo finally pulled up beside the three Fords in a roadside clearing, both Dawn and he were whooping with exuberance. This was really living! Mortimer didn't think so; he cowered in the back seat when Dawn and Frodo surged from the Chevy to meet the six boys who spilled out of the three Fords.
"Hi, I'm Rex," said the boy who'd first challenged Frodo, as he shook hands all around while leering at Dawn, the only "female" among them. "Who won?" yelled out one youth. "Yes, who was fastest?" called out another.
"No one was fastest. Everyone was fastest," Rex proclaimed. He was clearly the alpha male for everyone deferred to him. "Since everyone won, all must have prizes," he declared.
"But what sort of prizes?" asked three of the teens in unison.
"The best prize possible, if the lady here is willing," Rex replied. "This is the chance of a lifetime," he said to Dawn, "because you're already half in your grave, and I bet it's been years since you were invited to an orgy. This may be your last chance ever for some hot action. What do you say? Will you be our prize?"
While Dawn was pondering her options, Frodo made sure that she wasn't asked to spread her legs for the boys. He didn't know if she was fool enough to agree to intercourse, but he was taking no chances on anyone else finding out her true sex. He didn't want a rumble. So Frodo made the decision for her: "Dawn's my bitch, and she'll do whatever I say. Dawn, I think you should give each of the prizewinners a blowjob."
About thirty-five minutes later, the seven boys gave Dawn a prize of her own: the gearshift knob from Rex's cherry red car. They joked that she could suck on it like hard-rock candy whenever she wanted to remember this day. As they returned to their Chevy, Frodo had to admit that it had turned him on to watch her go down on so many guys. I guess I'm a voyeur as well as an exhibitionist," he admitted, as he recalled being the only one to run around naked.
"You're my kind of guy," Dawn gushed. "There's nothing sexier than a voyeuristic exhibitionist. We make the perfect couple."
Mortimer, on the other hand, was the odd man out. He hadn't got laid in three decades, and he claimed to be mortified by what he'd seen from the rear window of the Chevy. And yet the sights and sounds of lovemaking had mightily stirred him. There was hope now for Mortimer: He was not dead yet. Indeed, now that he realized that Dawn was, despite her childlike appearance, something of a slut, he began to plot to get into her Winnie the Pooh panties. It would take some time, Mortimer appreciated, for Dawn understandably preferred boys closer to her own age. But she wouldn't always have a Frodo or Rex at her fingertips, and there would come a day when Mortimer would have his chance to come inside the comely lass.
With Dawn now doing the driving, and Mortimer sitting between the two lovers as a chaperone, they sped towards New Hope. They arrived about two o'clock in the afternoon, which gave them several hours to search for Hope before they'd have to make a decision on where to stay the night. Dawn realized that she still didn't have any money, and when she wasn't asking passers-by whether they had seen a boy named Allan or a girl named Hope, she fretted about how Mortimer would react to being asked to pay for two rooms, with one of them having a double bed for Frodo and her.
As the three of them searched for Hope in the small tourist town on the banks of the Delaware River, it gradually dawned on Mortimer and Frodo that they were on a fool's errand. They were astonished to discover that Dawn and Hope had never met, indeed that Dawn had no idea of her friend's appearance or age. "Then how we can find her? How will you even know, Dawn, that we have found her?"
"I'll know Hope when I see her. I am sure of that," Dawn countered. However, her companions were far from optimistic, especially after Dawn admitted that her girlfriend was probably going around "en drab" as a male named Allan.
"Do you mean to say," spluttered Mortimer, "that Hope could be anyone on the street?"
Yes, that's what Dawn was saying, and after she'd downed her first six coffees (oak-aged Saudi Arabica, one of her favorites) she even admitted that she wasn't even sure if Hope lived in Pennsylvania. These confessions Frodo and Mortimer found unnerving. They began to wonder whether their newfound friend was playing with less than a full deck. That was the unsought opinion of dozens of the people they met in the ice cream emporia and antique shops of New Hope: "You have noticed," they'd say, "that your friend is dressed like Alice in Wonderland. Don't you think that's a wee bit odd?"
Neither Mortimer nor Frodo had thought Dawn strangely dressed when they first saw her, for neither got out much. But with so many people tut-tutting about her pinafore and mini-dress, both began to wonder whether Dawn was as crazy as she was sexy. After due consideration, Frodo decided he wasn't going to let a little thing like dementia get in the way of his finally having sexual intercourse with another human being. As for Mortimer, it deeply wounded him to learn that the beautiful child he'd rescued from the carwash was a psychotic nymphomaniac, but her search for Hope had become his hope for a future worth living; and he had no intention of abandoning her before she or he had gotten lucky.
At nine o'clock Dawn finally admitted they weren't going to find Hope in Pennsylvania, and they rented two rooms in the Master Bates Motel. Dawn had been surprised when Mortimer readily agreed to her sharing a double room with Frodo. She'd figured he used his control over the purse strings to insist on his own arrangements. Yet, after a brief conversation with Norman, the motel manager, he took the room adjoining Dawn's and, yawning broadly, wished "you two kids a very good night."
It never occurred to Dawn that the blinking eyes in the stuffed dodo bird in her bathroom were Mortimer's or that he almost had a heart attack the first time he saw her naked in the shower. Mortimer was so upset to learn that Dawn was in fact a male that he briefly debated whether he should rush over with a knife to cut off her offending member. However, his anger faded as he watched Frodo and Dawn make love in the shower. Again, he felt something stir that had been moribund for decades.
The eyes squinting through the stuffed albatross in Dawn's bedroom were tear-filled as Mortimer watched her body move synchronously with Frodo's as the boy for the first time experienced the ecstasy of sexual intercourse. Mortimer longed to take the boy's place on top of Dawn. To his astonishment, Mortimer, a heterosexual when he last had sex during the Vietnam War, found himself falling in love with Dawn, a cross-dressing "teenage" male.
For the rest of the night, as Frodo repeatedly awakened Dawn for sex, Mortimer sat in his own room talking to a stuffed parrot. "Polly," he repeatedly asked, "tell me how to keep the search for Hope alive. I don't want Dawn to give up in despair. I've got to think of a way to keep Hope alive in Dawn's breast." He blushed at the word. Dawn's breasts greatly excited Mortimer even though he now knew they were falsies. But were they ever big!
Around four o'clock in the morning, the parrot talked. At least, Mortimer would always swear it did. "Didn't you tell me, Mortimer, that Dawn's friend is a big fan of former President Clinton? Didn't she say that Hope staked out his office for several days in the hope that he'd see her and invite her in for a cigar?"
"That's true," Mortimer sleepily replied. And then he knew where Hope had to be living if she had, as Dawn believed, taken her name from her own hometown. She must be living in Hope, Arkansas! Bill Clinton came from there; he was the man from Hope. The Arkansas town was more than a thousand miles away. By the time he and Dawn got there, they'd have had time to fall in love. But what if Frodo insisted on coming along for the ride? "Why not?" Mortimer thought, "just as long as I get to watch when they have sex."
In the morning, Mortimer would tell Dawn that Hope was to be found in President Clinton's birthplace near the Texas state line. If she believed him, they'd be heading westward into the sunset, as had so many hopeful Americans in days of yore. They'd be journeying across the Midwest, and Mortimer expected to find some hope for himself in the optimistic, friendly villages, towns and cities of the heartland. A "girl" named Hope might be permanently beyond their grasp, but Mortimer knew - he just knew - that a "girl" named Dawn had become his hope for a better tomorrow.
Sometime around dawn Frodo decided that he wanted another night with Dawn. He readily agreed with Mortimer that Hope must be living in Arkansas. Together they persuaded Dawn to continue her quest for Hope. Dawn, exhausted by the libido of her teenaged lover, slept alone in the back seat as Frodo aimed the Chevy for Arkansas. Mortimer, sitting closely beside him in the front, couldn't help but think, "Frodo's quite attractive for a boy."
Chapter 4 - A Lizard Rides a Rabbit
For lunch, Dawn probably should have guzzled fewer than eight cups of coffee (from beans grown high in the Blue Mountain ridge of North Carolina), for the Chevy had been positively flying across Pennsylvania and Ohio since she'd taken over the driving. She was definitely wired, and she was frantic to find a full-service rest stop. (Dawn preferred to pee sitting on a heated toilet seat.) With her legs tightly crossed, and just one hand on the steering wheel (the other was clutching Frodo's gearbox), she was having trouble staying in the passing lane of westbound Interstate 70.
As she felt Frodo twitch into overdrive, Dawn's eyes strayed from the road. The Chevy wandered into the right-hand lane reserved for slower traffic. A horn blared. Startled, Dawn almost drove into the ditch as a rusty white Rabbit swerved around the Chevy to the left as though it were standing still.
Dawn, ever the patriot, wasn't willing to have a German car zoom past her, even if it had a six or seven year advantage over her elderly American make. So she pumped all seven working cylinders and raced after the presumptuous little foreigner. "Damn the Kaiser," Dawn yelled as she urged her Chevy onward. It was a battle cry from her youth.
No, silly, Dawn wasn't old enough to remember World War I. She wasn't that old. It wasn't the German emperor her father used to curse. Rather it was the family car of her childhood, built by the short-lived, lamentable Kaiser-Frazer Company of Willow Run. So it made sense to Dawn repeatedly to bellow "Damn the Kaiser" - to the bewilderment of Mortimer and Frodo - as she chased after the white Rabbit. The car was, after all, a Teutonic challenge to the "American way."
She chased the Rabbit for more than twelve miles; she even followed it into the parking lot of the Salem Mall in Dayton, Ohio. To her immense satisfaction, she was able to beat it to the last convenient parking spot by doing a slalom race around and past two bicyclists, three grocery carts, four walking persons, five motor cars, six vans or trucks, and a partridge in a pear tree (which was being loaded onto a u-haul trailer). Fortunately for Dawn, the seven police cars had been thrown off her scent by the quick detour she and the car took through a carwash.
"You should have told us you were going to get the car washed," spluttered Frodo as Dawn expertly wheeled the Chevy into the parking space yawning wide in front of the northern entrance of the mall.
"Yes," gasped Mortimer. "I ... almost ... drowned." He was breathing like a guppy out of water.
"Dawn, next time give us some warning, so that we can roll up the car windows," Frodo said as he shook the suds off his curly locks.
He fixed Dawn with a severe look. Dawn hadn't seen a look like that since the day she'd attempted to filch two eggs from a bird's nest for her morning omelet. The girl scouts hadn't been pleased either. They'd taken no pity on her, despite her many bites, cuts and abrasions; her troop voted unanimously to fire her as their leader, and by doing so, had effectively ended her association with scouting after some thirty years of devotion and sexy uniforms.
Dawn still thought the punishment unfair. How was she to know that the bird was an eagle or that eagles were a protected species? After all, with a bald head like that, couldn't it have been a species of bat? Indeed, Dawn was convinced that her aversion to work during the daylight hours proved it had been a vampire bat and her expulsion from scouting a case of mistaken identity.
Something struck the Chevy. "A bird?" Dawn anxiously wondered. Ever since her encounter with the vampire bat who'd cross-dressed as an eagle, Dawn had lived in mortal fear that she'd be attacked by a flock of vengeful birds, like in Alfred Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds." But it wasn't a bird hitting the car; it was a human fist. And it belonged to an irate little man who claimed to be the owner of the white Rabbit that she'd been racing. He was upset at being cut off.
"Oh my, oh my!" squeaked Mortimer. Fear and anxiety froze him in place. Only his quivering nose moved. Frodo was irresolute. Had he been able to fly, he would have counterattacked, but Dawn's breasts were so large (they hugged the steering wheel) - that it was well-nigh impossible for Frodo to crawl past them to the little man who was pounding on Dawn's side of the car. It was up to Dawn, therefore, to protect the Chevy and its little band of travelers.
"Hey lizard face, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Dawn diplomatically asked. Why lizard face? Did the little man actually look like one? Did he have a snout? A long, narrow face? A face pocked with acne? No, he had a round face, with a cute little pug nose, and fleshy lips. His skin, far from being lizard-like, was unusually soft for a man's. The face was, in fact, rather beautiful - especially for a male. A scraggly brown moustache was the only imperfection. It looked like the sort of moustache a sixteen-year-old boy would grow; yet this guy was definitely in his early twenties.
So why did Dawn call the little man "lizard face"? One is never sure when it calms to Dawn, for her brain works differently than most people's. She'd say that it works on a higher, more abstract plane, but even her friends consider her thinking plainly more distracted than abstract. And "higher" was not an adjective that one normally used to describe Dawn's thought processes, for even she had to admit that she thought about sex twice as much as the normal fifteen-year-old boy.
So why lizard face? It must have been because of his matching lizard-skin boots and belt. Possibly, Dawn felt that anyone with a passion for dead lizards might object to being called a live one. She had, after all, discovered that women who wear leather don't like being called a "cow." And no matter how many sweaters they wore, most men found it insulting to be called a "sheep." So, Dawn may have been conducting her own version of psychological warfare.
"Lizard face?" the little man repeated. "Lizard face? That's your big insult? Lizard face? What kind of person are you?" And then he looked for the first time into the car, where he saw an oversized Alice in Wonderland. The little man broke into laughter. His taut little belly shook with laughter. His biceps rippled with delight. His cheeks - all four of them - quivered with pleasure. He chortled: "Oh, this is rich. I've gone down the rabbit hole, and I've found Alice after she's eaten cake that's made her the biggest ten-year-old girl in the whole wide world. And you're tall too!"
Then the little man fell down laughing. Dawn saw her opportunity. She leapt from the car to kick the little man while he was down. However, he was too quick for her: the little man grabbed her raised foot, throwing Dawn off balance. She then fell onto him - or as he saw it - she fell into his arms.
"Come on, Alice, give daddy a big kiss."
He pressed Dawn's face to his. He was remarkably strong for his size; he obviously worked out. As his tongue slithered between Dawn's lips, she thought, "He really is like a lizard where it counts. What an incredibly long tongue! He's got to be the world's best kisser." That thought was enough to end all struggle. Her mouth began to work like a vacuum pump as Dawn tightened her arms around the little man to make sure that he didn't escape.
Dawn and the little man quite forgot themselves. As six middle-aged ladies looked on in horror and three young boys in amazement, they pawed each other like dogs in heat. Simultaneously, indecorously, their hands found each other's crotch. They grabbed each other's genitals. Then, suddenly, frantically, they pulled away. They scrambled to be free of each other. Despite the tremendous suction, the little man even extracted his tongue. They leapt to their feet, a safe three feet apart.
"You're a ... You're not a ..." the little man stammered.
"You're not a ... You're a ...." Dawn stammered.
The little man laughed. It was contagious: Dawn laughed. Frodo and Mortimer laughed. They had been first alarmed, then confused, finally jealous as Dawn and the little man had sniffed each other out. Everyone had a good belly laugh, though only Dawn and the little man knew that the joke was on them. The little man had discovered that Big Alice was really a man, and Dawn had learned that she'd been French-kissing a little woman. It was all very topsy-turvy. Dawn had just kissed her first woman and had quite enjoyed it. Indeed, even now, she wanted more. The "little man" had also seen a new dawn, for this was "his" first sexual encounter with a genetic male (which Dawn was, despite her impressively big bosom).
"What am I?" each of them thought - together, as though they had found the same wavelength. "Am I a homosexual? A heterosexual? A bisexual? I'm not sure anymore. I always thought my sexuality a curiosity, but now it's getting curioser and curioser."
As neither was a cat - she comes much later in our tale - Dawn and the "little man" felt it safe to surrender to curiosity. They moved closer, close enough for Dawn to feel a tongue flickering on her moistening lips.
"My name is Dawn. What's yours?" Dawn decided she couldn't keep on thinking of him as "the little man," for he was - despite his manly ways - actually a woman, or something like that.
"It's Bill. At least, that's been my name for years." He looked over toward the car where both Frodo and Mortimer had shifted to the driver's side to eavesdrop more effectively. Indeed, Frodo was leaning out of the window to catch every word and wink. The crowd of on-lookers was also growing larger and more raucous. Some of them seemed to be betting on the ultimate outcome of Dawn's encounter with Bill, for several people were shouting something about "handicapping" the parking.
Bill knew they were making a spectacle of themselves, and he, unlike Dawn, had to worry about his reputation. He hadn't yet lost it. Besides, West Salem was his hometown. He'd have to live here long after Dawn had headed off into the sunset. So Bill whispered to Dawn, "Dawn sweetie, what do you say to your coming back to my house so that we can get to know each other better? Your friends (he motioned to the Chevy) can come too, so long as they respect our privacy."
There are people who wouldn't accept such a proposition from a total stranger, especially one with a temper and a rusty Rabbit, but Dawn wasn't one of them. She planted a big kiss on Bill's open lips, then rushed over to the Chevy to explain the change in plans: "Mortimer, Frodo! I've got great news! Bill lives in this town and he's offered us a place to stay tonight - for free! I'll make sure he doesn't change his mind by going with him in his car, and you'll follow in the Chevy. Wow! Free accommodations! That will keep costs down." She then hurried back to Bill.
As Bill and Dawn walked off hand-in-hand to the white Rabbit, Frodo muttered, "I don't think Dawn was entirely truthful about her plans for this town. I didn't think she was like that."
"Like what?" asked Mortimer.
"Like fickle. I didn't realize she was the fickle sort. I was sort of hoping she was the stable, faithful type. I was hoping to marry her - maybe even legal-like once she had all her operations."
"Don't worry, Frodo. Dawn is just leading the guy on because she was worried about how much this trip was costing me. You do know that she's not got a dime with her. She was just thinking about me - about us. Don't worry about Dawn. She'll always be there for you."
"I sure hope so," frowned Frodo.
Mortimer was hopeful of one thing - that Dawn was a fickle lover but a faithful friend. Yes, he wanted her to be "always there" for Frodo, but only as the boy's platonic friend. The only reason Mortimer had allowed the boy to join them in New Hope was his own hope that Dawn was so promiscuous that she'd eventually come his way. He saw in her passionate nature the Dawn of a better tomorrow.
He didn't expect her to be his lifelong lover, for she was obviously incapable of that much fidelity. However, he still saw her sexual energy as the vital force that would - like the electricity coursing through Frankenstein's cadaver - restore him to full life. Mortimer had been dead for thirty years. But already he could feel something stirring inside him. It was, he appreciated, a mixture of hope and lust.
Mortimer knew that he'd stick by Dawn no matter where she went in her wanderland. He expected Frodo to be along for the ride as well, no matter how badly Dawn behaved in Dayton. The pain, hope and confusion on Frodo's face revealed the obvious: Dawn was Frodo's first love. He'd be her faithful servant until she released him from the silent vow he'd made of lifelong devotion.
Meanwhile, Dawn was getting to know little Bill. As they drove along in the white Rabbit, her left hand never left his right thigh. First she talked about herself. She gave her life story. She talked about her search for Hope in America. And she explained her love of Alice in Wonderland - "because it's a world in which anything can happen, and everything turns out for the best." Unusually for Dawn, she asked Bill for his life story. Most of all, she wanted to know why Bill didn't have any breasts. Dawn, you see, had a mammary obsession - even to the point of swearing that Al Jolson actually sang, "Mammary, how I love you. How I love you, my dear old Mammary."
It turned out that Bill's life had been rather uneventful until his twenty-first year. "They called me Lizabeth," he said, "but I never wanted to be a girl. Sure I had a girl's body, but I knew that was the result of a screw-up somewhere in heaven, the womb, or the hospital. I finally decided that I was a changeling: I was born a boy, but switched for a girl when the hospital staff realized my family was too poor to afford a boy - you know, to pay for his sports equipment, the broken windows and bones, the designer sneakers and team jackets, the bail bonds and lawyers' fees."
"Yes, boys are expensive," agreed Dawn, who was thinking of all the alcohol she'd paid for over the years to get them "in the mood."
"I rebelled from the start," Bill continued. "I wouldn't wear a skirt or a dress after I learned at the age of three that boys refuse to wear them. Even now I remember vividly how upset everyone was when I forced Danny to change clothes with me in the girls' washroom at the Pentecostal Church. They might not have noticed - he looked darling in white tights and a red velvet dress with white lace trim - but he stupidly bawled throughout the service. I got into a heap of trouble, but my parents never dared put me into a dress again."
"What happened to Danny?"
"Last I heard he's making his living as a female impersonator in San Francisco. But this is my story, not his. Naturally, I was a tomboy even in my teens. Even so, I was one of the more feminine-looking girls in the glass because I developed quickly and hugely. We all went around in formless sweatshirts and jeans, but there was no mistaking my true gender, alas. There were lots of boys who wanted to date me, or more precisely, to date my boobs. I always said no because I knew I wasn't a homosexual and so I couldn't have sex with a guy."
"Even with me?" Dawn fretted.
"Dawn, you're a lot of things. I'm sure there are many surprises to come. But you're no guy. It would gross me out if I stripped off your clothes to find boxer shorts. But I'm not going to find those, am I?"
"No indeed, I'm wearing little girl panties!" Dawn boasted.
"Of course you are, sweet Alice. Anyway, to continue my story, I was still a virgin when I got cancer - breast cancer - at twenty. According to the statistics, I was remarkably unlucky to get it so young. Yet I survived and I will survive. But without my breasts. I needed two radical mastectomies. The operations made up my mind for me. I started taking massive doses of male hormones, and I started doing everything I could to make my clitoris grow longer. I found that a suction pump worked the best. Dawn, with a mouth like yours, I expect my clit to grow two inches tonight!"
Dawn blushed with pride - and then with embarrassment when Bill insisted on their making love under klieg lights. They were alone in the master bedroom of Bill's two-bedroom bungalow, with Frodo and Mortimer biding their time in the combination living room-dining room. Frodo was thumbing through Bill's collection of Penthouse and Hustler, while Mortimer, irresolute, didn't know whether to wait around for Frodo to masturbate or to watch Dawn and Bill through the keyhole. B y the time, the keyhole won out, Dawn and Bill were already naked and having sex.
As there are very few people who want to read about sex, this is perhaps the best place to condense the story (so that there will be more time later to describe how the sun sets over the Parthenon and the Great Pyramid, two of the ancient marvels of Tennessee). To keep the story moving along, it suffices to say that Bill made love to Dawn as a man does to a woman. Yes, Bill did have a remarkably big clitoris for Dawn to engorge, as well as a giant dildo that made Dawn a fulfilled woman.
Afterwards, they tried to figure out the moment when Bill lost his virginity. "It was when we had intercourse," Dawn argued. "You know - when you entered me for the first time."
"But I didn't even have an orgasm then! No, I know when I lost my virginity - it's when my fluids rose and my whole body shook. You know the moment - you were sucking on my clit. You had the most peaceful expression on your face when I had my orgasm."
In other words, Dawn had already fallen asleep. However, as long as she slept with virgins, she'd keep her reputation as a great lay.
Bill, as eager for sex as Frodo had been, kept awakening Dawn throughout the night. Dawn, sleep-deprived, was in no mood to hear Frodo's complaints at breakfast. So he had to sleep on a threadbare sofa with sagging springs? So Mortimer kept stealing into the living room to lift up Frodo's sheet? Surely Mortimer wasn't the first guy to see Frodo in his white cotton briefs? Besides, didn't Frodo enjoy having his body admired? Since Mortimer had been too timid to touch Frodo, what was the big deal?
"What's the real reason you're sulking?" Dawn demanded.
"You'd rather sleep with Bill than with me! I should go home. I was being a young fool when I agreed to help you look for Hope. There's no way we're ever going to find her ... especially if you go chasing after every guy you meet."
Dawn stamped her feet: "You can't leave! There's no way we'll find Hope without you! I need you, Frodo. I need you in my bed tonight. I need you in me tonight."
Frodo's face broke into a giant smile. "Dawn, I need you now. I'm so horny. Let's do it right now, right here - right in front of Bill and Mortimer."
"Wait a second," Bill interrupted. "Where do I fit in? I love Dawn too."
After a moment's pause, Dawn came up with the only logical solution - or at any rate, with the solution that promised her the most sexual gratification. "Bill ... and Frodo, I insist on sleeping with both of you tonight. Most virgins have to wait years for a threesome; but thanks to my generosity, you can both experience your first one tonight! It will be awesome! And Mortimer, you can watch us from the bedroom closet. That should get your juices flowing," she winked.
Neither Bill nor Frodo agreed immediately. Both would have preferred to bed Dawn alone. Though curious about each other, and well aware - unlike myopic Mortimer - that Dawn was an old crone, they, nonetheless, were terrified at the prospect of having sex with another male. They didn't want to "go queer." Dawn, however, pointed out that both of them had already had sex with a biological male, and so perhaps it was a bit late in the game to declare homophobia to be their preferred suit. "In that great card game called life," Dawn pretentiously explained, "it's always best to make hearts the trump. And I am trumping all of your objections. Tonight you both sleep with me or everyone sleeps alone."
"And I'll be lifting up your sheets all night if you do," Mortimer warned. He was eager to see the threesome. He hoped it would, as Dawn said, get his "juices flowing."
Whatever their motive - lust, jealousy, fear, curiosity or hope - Frodo and Bill agreed to the threesome. Why not do it now? they asked. Why not get on with it? But Dawn insisted they spend the day looking for Hope.
In Dayton, Ohio? Why there? Dawn explained: "It was Providence that brought us to Dayton."
"Providence? The city in Rhode Island? But Dawn, we came by way of Pittsburgh and Columbus. We went nowhere near Rhode Island," objected Frodo quite reasonably.
"Not Providence, Rhode Island, silly. But God's providential will. Or if you prefer (for Bill was frowning at the thought that a deity had willed him to have a woman's body) it was good luck that brought us here. If Bill and I had not found each other on the highway - and what are the odds against that happening? - we wouldn't have driven the Chevy to the Salem Mall."
"Huh?" everyone asked, or they muttered something to that effect.
"The name, the name, the name of the mall, it's exactly where you'd find Hope. It's exactly where we're going to find her, for she once admitted to me that she was a shopaholic. We'll check out all the women's clothing stores! We'll likely find her trying on lingerie."
As everyone was still confused, Dawn had to explain, "The word 'Salem' derives from the Hebrew and Arabic words for 'peace'. You know - 'shalom' and 'salaam'."
"Yeh right," Frodo nodded. He still didn't know where this was heading, but he was impressed by Dawn's erudition. To Mortimer he whispered, "Dawn's so smart that I bet she could win at least $400 on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'!"
"So Salem Mall means the 'concourse of peace'. We only saw its parking lot, but I bet it's almost a spiritual place. I once read that shopping malls are the cathedrals of our era. There we must look for Hope."
Continued in Chapter 5 – Maid for Little Bill