Many things are temporary. Insanity is not one of them. This is the story of Tess Collis and her boss, the former Oliver Barker.
They were working late. The Accounting Department of a large corporation was coming up against tax time deadlines, and Tess was working overtime. She was a mid-twenties graduate of secretary school. Tall and gangly, she did not flower like many of her piers into larger bra sizes and alluring curves. Tess enjoyed her accounting work and was good at it. Mr. Barker realized this and gave her the extra hours.
Tonight she was concerned about her boss. It was getting late. Mr. Barker was still in his office with the door closed. It had been that way most nights for nearly a month. Tess wasn't sure why. Was Barker isolating himself because of troubles at home? Perhaps business was bad. There was an invoice that needed his signature. She hesitated at the door, knocked three times, and then entered.
"Oh, Mr. Barker! I am sorry!" Tess stood aghast in the open door. Barker was standing in front of a full-length mirror beside his desk, wearing a dress. He wore a red floral design that draped just above matching shoes. When he turned toward the door his wig, a shoulder length blond weave, didn't turn with him.
For a moment, Barker was startled. Then his hardened glare softened. "Miss Collis, come in."
Tess extended her clipboard defensively in front of her. "I didn't mean to intrude."
"No please. Come in, and shut the door behind you."
Tess took tiny, deliberate, nervous steps as she entered the office. "I need your signature."
"The door, Miss Collis?"
Tess reluctantly closed the door behind her.
"What do you think?" Barker turned to the mirror and angled his body sideways. Barker was in his sixties, heavy, and nearly bald. "Are we too garish? Is the red too much?"
Tess' complexion went ashen. "I don't know what to say, Mr. Barker."
"Be honest. What do you think? "
Tess clutched her clipboard. "For me, the red shoes make it. When you do strong colors, the shoes must stand out."
"Why of course. Excellent, Miss Collis." Barker pirouetted before the mirror one more time. Turning his back to her he asked, "Miss Collis. Please. Unzip me."
Tess could feel her body sway. She felt like she would pass out.
"Hurry. I want to try on the beige."
Tess felt her hands growing numb. She dropped the clipboard on the desk and pulled the zipper down Barker's neck to his waist. The dress slipped to the floor. Barker was in his underwear and knee-high sox. Tess was struck by the enormity of his boxer shorts. She fought the urge to bolt for the door, to run, and keep on running.
Barker leaned over to step into the other dress. "You may as well know, I'm having the change." Barker pulled the dress up his legs, over his hips to his shoulders.
"Change?" Tess was aware of a powerfully pungent perfume and held her breath.
Tess zipped up the dress to the thick nape of Barker's neck.
"I'm having a sex change."
Tess was unable to force any air past her vocal chords.
"I've been on the hormones for a while now, and will be going under the knife this weekend." Barker looked at his reflection, turning from side to side. "What do you think?"
Tess was not breathing, and reminded herself to take a breath. "What does Mrs. Barker have to say?"
"Not my wife, the dress."
Tess tried not to focus her eyes on the mirror and Barker's undulating body. She felt like a bystander as t