Episode 15 – Discoveries

I hand Azalea a beer and collapse in a kitchen chair, Dad’s note dangling from my fingers. “God…I’m in deep shit!”

A huge swallow gurgles down her throat. She hands me the can. “Drown your sorrows, Baby.”

I chug the rest.

“Slow down!” Azalea exclaims. “You’ll get wasted, and you know what happens…or doesn’t happen then.”

I roll my eyes. “What the fuck should I do now? Call Dad?”

“Where is he?”

“Giving a performance I guess…”

“Perfect. Leave him a message. Tell him you have a friend over to keep you company…no need to rush.” She winks. “We’ll have more time to do our thing. right?”

I punch in Dad’s number…totally freaked. Glance at Azalea. “Jeez, I hope he doesn’t answer.” Thankfully, it rings and rings…his voicemail comes on…tell him a friend had a crisis and I’ve invited her over. No worries. Everything’s okay.”

I tun to Azalea. “What about school? You’ve got no clothes.”

“Gussy, chill. We’ve got lots of time before that. My first priority is to drain you dry.”

“Cool. Let’s go on the rubber hunt. He better have some.”

We walk upstairs hand in hand. “Gus, your Dad wouldn’t be normal unless he had protection stashed somewhere.”

“Yeah, I guess. Right?” Although it never occurred to me Dad actually fucks anybody.

I lead Azalea to Dad’s bedroom which is ten times the size of mine. She looks around. Takes in all the fancy furnishings…unchanged since Mom passed.

“Wow, it’s s-o-o-o girlie!” She cries.

I’m sort of insulted…always considered the room a shrine to Mom. “Azalea,” I say. “We’re keeping Mom’s memory alive as long as we can. She died a long time ago.”

“Baby, I’m sorry! What happened? Was she sick?”

“I think she had a heart attack. I was like four. It’s kind of a mystery.”

“Mystery? What do you mean?”

“Dad was a mess afterwards…never talked about it.”

Azalea nods. “You mind if I snoop around?”

I shrug. “Be my guest.”

She walks to the double doors leading to the walk-in closet. “What’s in here?”

“Take a look.”

Azalea walks in and her jaw drops. “Are these your Mom’s clothes?”

“No, they’re Dad’s costumes.”

“What?” She exclaims. “He’s a female impersonator?”

“No, he’s an actor.” She obviously doesn’t know actors. They all dress like women at some time or other…don’t they?

She bursts my bubble. “Gus, most actors don’t dress like women,” she says, poking through the outfits.”Occasionally maybe, but this is over the top.” She inspects some of the labels. “Why do they all say ‘custom made for Maude’? Who’s Maude?”

Figure she’s playing with my head. “Good question,” I reply…haven’t a clue. “Maybe it’s the designer’s name?”

“Why would your Dad have all this stuff designed by, or for, Maude. You need to find out who Maude is.”

The realization hits that none of it makes much sense…I have no idea what Dad really does. He could be a dress designer for all I know, but he always says he’s an actor, so that’s what I’ve believed…no reason to think different. “Let’s keep looking,” I suggest. “There’s gotta be men’s stuff here too.” Immediately, see a silver sequined master-of-ceremonies coat with a matching top hat. “See, look,” I say, pulling it off the rack…then notice black tights thrown over the hanger….very weird.

Azalea starts giggling which pisses me off. “What’s so funny?”

“Gus, your father’s a transvestite.”

“No fucking way!” I exclaim. “he plays a lot of different roles,” but she keeps laughing and I’m embarrassed as shit. Face gets hot…I suddenly hate her! “Shut the fuck up!” I yell. Want to get away from her, and the room, as fast as possible.

“Baby, calm down,” she says sweetly. “I know this is a shock, but at least what he does is legal. Look at my dad.”

I’m not about to cave easily. “We don’t actually know he’s a transvestite,” but then I picture the traces of make-up in the morning…purple on his eyelids… red at the corners of his mouth. Realize it’s probably true. The whole thing’s an out-of-body experience…and not a good one.

“Let’s look more,” Azalea says, rummaging through his drawers. It freaks me….like a total violation of privacy, but I go along. Figure it’s better to know the truth one way or the other.

“Aha!!!” She cries all of a sudden, and holds up a handful of flyers. On the front, there’s a women…or is it? Holy shit! It’s Dad in a blond wig wearing the master-of-ceremonies get up…holding a whip, and it reads:

“MAKE A DATE WITH MAUDE!

The gay man’s dream.

Maude satisfies every fantasy. All you have to do is ask!

Personal dates or private parties.”

Below there’s a telephone number for a place called The Cherry Pit, plus Dad’s cell.

I flop on the bed…drained….childhood fantasies totally wrecked!

To be continued….Read next episode!