From Jester To King XCV
By Simon Barget
They brought a transgender personality into the hall yesterday. Tell me what all the fuss was about. I’ll admit she was beautiful, the type of woman I’d have gone for had she not been a man, petite, luscious hazelnut curls, clean dainty nose. I didn’t have time to work out what difference it made, all I know is that everyone at school/the village/all the backgammon players, basically everyone I knew was stuffed in to the hall with all the beds on the side and the little rooms we have off it, and I was trying to find a decent spot to get away from the rumpus so I made my way up the stairs to the rostrum, then back round behind until I found the bed where I usually stay for performances. Initially Mishky Moroni was there on the other bed, just relaxing, giving off this impression that there’s no way a transgender performer’s going to faze him, and although his couldn’t-give-a-fuck disposition didn’t entirely match mine, I’m happy that I had Moroni to share a room with because everyone else was so ludicrously taken with the whole thing, so in awe, so enthralled that a man could have been a woman and a woman been a man, this absurd devotional bias was starting to really irk me and at least Moroni was showing some sort of resistance.
I saw the girl as she came up to the stage. I could see everyone fawning, milling around her, not necessarily even wanting to speak or take pictures, all they wanted was to be in her purview, and then this juvenile gleam once they’d been there, then the look round to the others inviting approval, sickening, showing that they’d been close, they’d achieved the objective, they wanted it taken down for the record. All the noise and kerfuffle whilst this pretentious little woman swanned up to the stage milking the attention, all this parade and charade when people didn’t even understand what the point was.
There was no point at all.
So as we’re all meant to settle down in our beds, as she takes to the microphone, I’m already in mine. But now is the time to move, to commit to rebellion. I try to move but I can’t, my whole body is paralysed and I start worrying that I might not be able to move ever again, let alone try do what I want to do now. So I ask Moroni for a bunk up, but as I look across, he’s got a very large man lying on top of him, such is the demand for space, and I realise that’s why I can’t move because this man is exerting his force on not only Moroni but on me as well. With enormous effort I manage to get up, my legs like rocks, the gravitational force punishing, and just as this girl’s about to start speaking something blurts out of me, I mean I wasn’t necessarily planning to say anything, but I find myself saying have you ever tried becoming a man?, and as I say it, I feel that relish you feel when you realise the thing you’ve said is precisely the thing which needs to be said; the idea wasn’t necessarily to make a complete mockery of it or just to be scathing, the idea, and let me see if I can convey this, was to demonstrate a flaw in the logic, to show there was no meaning to the change, because if it meant so much to change from man to a woman, then why not change back, carry on changing, if there was such profundity to becoming a woman there should be just as much to going back to a man, and then the process endlessly repeating. And though it did come off as snide, but I think I had a point, even though the whole thing was probably prompted by the fact that I really fancied this woman but couldn’t work out if I was supposed to or not, if it was allowed.
And then I looked at my phone to see all these messages to my nickname saying things like Stop it you, or how could you in mock criticism, I notice all these other people who had so far remained silent showing that they see things my way too, and I won’t say I felt validated because it’s as if I knew I was right all along, debunking the charade, I was right to question this foundling, and I went back to my bed with my phone in my hand with this burgeoning sense of victory, not that it did me any good, because I still wanted the girl and could feel it all in my body.