Los Angeles. Inside one of countless recording studios. Jim, age 24, sat behind the sound board control panel. In front of him was a glass window, and beyond that, a sound proof room filled with high end microphones, musical instruments, and of course, a beautiful and charismatic pop star recording some vocals for her latest album.
Jim was the audio board operator. It was his job to monitor sound levels. Pitch, volume, tone, reverb, everything. His job was to bring out her best voice, at the richest, truest sound quality, to later be remastered and mixed into the final song track. She was a rising pop star. This was her second album. But Jim was anything but starstruck. He worked with celebrities big and small all the time. It was just part of the job now. No big deal.
His producer, Mick Darrens, sat in the control room with him. Mick was more of a “big picture” guy, and he had a way of schmoozing with the talent and always saying the right thing to make them feel right at home. Mick owned this particular recording studio. The back wall was lined with gold and platinum albums from artists who had recorded here before. He wasn’t the biggest name in Hollywood. But definitely one of the top ten.
“Beautiful, Sarah,” Mick said into the intercom so the pop star could hear him. “Loved it. I think we’re almost there. Let’s try again one more time, just for fun, and let’s give it a little more attitude, what do ya say?”
“Like a bit more cocky and confident,” she replied in her native Australian accent.
“Yeah, yeah, even more than that. Act like you own this place. Like you’re a super bitch and you own every place you walk into. This album’s all about power and owning your inner feminine goddess. So really bring that out, eh?”
The pop star smiled. “You got it, boss.”
Mick turned to Jim. “We ready?”
Jim pressed a button and adjusted a few dials. “Ready,” he said.
“Okay love,” Mick said into the intercom. “Anytime you’re feelin’ it.”
She nodded, signaling her readiness.
The music track started playing.
Right on beat, she started singing, with more attitude and spunk, with total command, as if she owned the whole goddamn world. She was a goddess. She was in charge. This was a girl’s world now and she was its queen. Or at least, that’s the attitude and energy she sang with, anyway.
Mick nodded. Yes. This was the version he liked. This song would be an instant #1 on iTunes. All the charts. A million downloads on the day it was released. He could tell. He had a sense for these things.
Meanwhile, Jim did all the technical work, making fine tune adjustments to the sound board on the fly, getting crisp and clear and pitch perfect audio from this rising beautiful pop star.
A few minutes later, the song was done. Mick turned to Jim. “We get it?”
Jim, headphones on, nodded. “We got it all.”
“That’s perfect, love,” Mick said over the intercom. “I think we’re done here for today.”
She smiled. She looked so cute as she did. “You’re the best.”
“No, sweetheart, you’re the best!” Mick replied.
He escorted her out to the lobby, schmoozed with her a bit more, exchanged some harmless mutual flirtation, and finally sent her on her way. Jim entered the lobby to get himself a fresh coffee.
“And that’s our last client for today,” Mick told Jim. “Let’s close up and get a head start on traffic. Oh, and by the by, some clients and industry friends of mine are checking out that new hotel that just opened up on Pico down by the beach. Open bar, heated swimming pool, live entertainment—a whole grand opening thing for the public. You should come. Would be good for networking. And who knows, you might meet someone to take home with you. I usually do,” he said with a wink.
“Thanks,” said Jim, “but I’m not much in the partying mood today.”
“Yeah. I appreciate it. Just feeling pretty beat.”
“Alright. Fair enough. Well, if you change your mind, you’ll know where I am.”
Jim sat in rush hour traffic for an hour and half, to drive a mere 14 miles home. His boss may have been super rich, but Jim only earned a modest salary. Better than most jobs, really. But this was LA, and nothing was cheap here. He had a nice apartment in a good area of town. But not one he could afford alone. Fortunately, he only had one roommate – a big improvement from the crappy and cramped little apartment Jim started in when he first moved to LA. He used to share a single bedroom with two other guys in a rundown area of North Hollywood. But now he had an upper middle class two bedroom apartment in Santa Monica just a few blocks from the beach off Wilshire Blvd. He’d definitely moved up in the world. All those years of college, hard work, networking, getting coffee, and free labor for friends’ indie film projects finally paid off. And maybe in another 5 or 10 years, he might even become an associate producer. That’d be awesome.
As long as no one found out his secret.
That could totally ruin his career. All that hard work, gone, poof—in the blink of an eye—if anyone ever found out.
Well, honestly, he wasn’t sure what would actually happen if people found out. That was just his fear. Would anyone ever take him seriously again? Would they ever look at him the same way? Would he be passed over for promotions because of it?
He unlocked the door and entered his apartment. His roommate Peter was there. Sitting on the couch, watching TV, enjoying his evening beer, as per usual.
“Hey Pete,” Jim said.
Peter didn’t even take his eyes off the game. “Hey Jim.”
Jim dropped his keys on the counter and kicked off his shoes. “You had dinner yet?” He started rummaging through the fridge, to see what they had. Not much. A few leftovers. Some random fruit. And plenty of beer. Jim decided to grab one.
“I had a late lunch,” Peter said, still watching his home team, the Chargers, battle it out on the field with their rival the Raiders. “But I could go for some Chinese or something if you’re hungry.”
“I just don’t want to cook,” Jim said, crashing down on the couch next to him. “Long day at work. Even longer day in traffic.” He cracked open the beer and savored that first sip.
“I hear that. The 405 was especially bad today.”
Jim slouched into a comfortable position. “I’m just so tired. And, you know… whatever. Forget about it.”
“Everything okay at work?” Peter asked, actually turning to face his friend.
“Yeah. I just… we were recording Sarah Stirling today.”
“Oh, nice. She’s hot. Love her ‘You Can’t Beat Me’ song too.”
“The whole time we were recording her, I couldn’t stop staring. You know. How I wish…”
“You know. She’s lucky. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s beautiful…”
“And she’s a girl?” Peter asked.
Jim shrugged sheepishly and quietly nodded.
“You know we can remedy that.”
“I know,” Jim said. “But it’s not the same. I always go back.”
“It’s supposed to be temporary.”
“I know, I know.”
Peter checked the game’s score. His Chargers were winning. Twenty one points ahead. Less than six minutes in the game. Yeah, this was a done deal. He picked up the remote and switched off the TV.
“Hey, what if I want to watch something?”
“I’ve got a better idea,” Peter said, leaning closer to Jim.
Jim’s eyes filled with simultaneous nervousness and hungry anticipation. He swallowed hard. “Yeah? Right now?”
“I think it’s girlfriend time.”
“I can’t,” Jim said. “It lasts like 24 hours. And I’ve got work tomorrow.”
“So call in sick.”
Jim shook his head. “No, I can’t. I’ve used up all my sick days this year already… doing mostly this.”
“Yeah, and your point is?
“You’re gonna get me fired.”
“Relax. Your boss loves you. You’re not gonna get fired.”
“You don’t know that.”
“You know what gets me fired up?” Peter asked, leaning even closer. Their faces were only a few inches apart. Jim could practically feel Peter’s breath on him.
Jim shook his head. He got up to go to the kitchen.
Peter grabbed Jim’s wrist, stopping him.
Jim looked back at his friend.
Peter gently, slowly moved Jim’s other hand down to Peter’s crotch, making Jim feel the hard boner that awaited him. “This,” he said. “Take the pill.”
“Come on. We do this song and dance every time. You know you like it. You love being Jamie. Come on, let her out, you know you want to be her. And we had a deal.”
“I don’t tell anyone about your little secret, and in return, you be my girlfriend whenever I want. And right now, Peter wants.”
“Pete…” Jim sighed. “Twenty four hours.”
“Give or take,” he replied.
“Still. I can’t afford to miss any work. And tomorrow we’ve got—”
Peter placed his finger over Jim’s lips, shushing him. “Be a good girl and bring Jamie out. That’s an order.”
Jim looked into Peter’s eyes. This was so weird. This relationship they had. So strange, so messed up. And yet… Peter was right. Jamie did want to come out and play. Jim really wanted to be her. To experience the joy and pleasure of being female once again.
Beautiful. Desirable. Sexy. Elegant. Pretty.
Able to surrender, let go, and just enjoy herself.
The woman inside.
The girl that deep down, Jim knew he actually was.
“Okay, fine, but if I get fired you’re paying my share of the rent.”
“I’ll be right back.”
Jim walked into his bedroom, opened a dresser drawer, and pulled out a small bottle of pills hidden beneath his socks. “Bender,” the label read. “Your taste of the other side,” read the slogan.
It had warning labels on the back. A long list of side effects, ones Jim was already well aware of. Bender was officially non-addictive, but it was definitely habit forming. And it tended to put the sex drive into overdrive – by a factor of ten.
Not that Jim cared. It just made everything else easier. Like his little arrangement with Peter. Peter was a player. He wasn’t looking for long-term, meaningful, deep relationships. He just needed somebody to shoot his rocks off into every so often. Usually it was other women he met at work, online, or the bar. But sometimes, there was nobody, and Peter was still horny – and that’s where Jim, or rather Jamie, came in.
And truthfully Jim—or specifically Jamie—didn’t mind. Peter was quite skilled in that area. He always left her feeling rather satisfied. Usually more than once. And that was a big part of the fun of being a woman. But it wasn’t just about the sex for Jim. No, for Jim, it went much deeper. He never felt satisfied or “whole” or natural as a man. His penis felt awkward, strange—like it didn’t belong. And he envied other women. They got to be women all the time.
In every way.
Bender was a fairly new pill. A few drug stores sold it, but most people had to buy it online. It was some breakthrough in modern science. One pill set off a chain reaction, temporarily repressing all male traits, features, body parts, and hormones. It even converted XY chromosomes into XX, changing the person down to the cellular, genetic level. Revealing the body they would’ve had, had they been born a woman. Of course, the effects were always temporary. After a day, give or take a few hours, the effects wore off and the body naturally, and rather rapidly, reverted to its old self.
So Jim got to enjoy twenty four hours of being a woman, before inevitably and unavoidably returning to male.
Before moving in with Peter, Jim used Bender sparingly and in secret. He’d get a motel for the weekend, telling his friends and roommates he’d be gone on a business trip or something. Soon as he settled into his new room, he’d take the pill, and within fifteen minutes, his alter-ego “Jamie” would fully emerge—100% female, from head to toe, inside and out. One of the side effects of Bender included a surge of hormones, always making her so horny immediately after the transformation. She usually masturbated in the motel room for a good hour or two, before finally feeling satisfied enough to go out in public.
And the going out in public part was just as much fun as the sexual pleasure. Sometimes she’d go to bars, just to enjoy all the attention of being hit on and free drinks. Sometimes she’d go shopping, trying on a variety of fun and playful dresses and outfits. She tried on the geek chic look, the elegant princess, the grunge rocker, conservative dresses, slutty outfits, everything. Just to see how she’d look. How it’d make her feel. And she loved it. She could be anybody she wanted, based on her mood, with the right outfit.
Sometimes she’d go to the mall and visit one of the department stores that put on free makeup samples. She loved getting the attention of another woman, an expert at beauty and makeup, to make Jamie look all the prettier and more beautiful herself.
Sometimes she went to the beach and sunbathed. Once, she went to a nude beach. That was a lot of fun. At first seeing everyone stare at her made her feel awkward. But then she learned to enjoy it. She was an object of beauty and desire. She was their fantasy in that moment. And she learned to love it.
But then one day, after moving into this new place with Peter, even the best kept secrets have a way of slipping out. She was unpacking. The bottle of Bender fell out – and to Jim’s horror, rolled all the way to Peter’s foot.